Airtel Africa

Airtel Africa sets new record in H1 financial results

23 October 2020 | Melanie Mingas

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Airtel Africa has recorded its 11th consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth, setting a new internal performance record.

In its H1 financial results released today, Airtel Africa noted a 16.4% increase in revenue in the first half of its current financial year, and a 19.6% increase in Q2.

The operator said mobile revenues increased 15.3% in H1 due to growth in voice and data, while its mobile money operation Airtel Money saw revenue growth of 30.4%. This was attributed to the easing of lockdown measures in Airtel’s markets and the Q2 reintroduction of fees on certain transactions, which had been previously waived.

Growth was recorded across all regions, with Nigeria up 20.2%, East Africa up 21.9% and Francophone Africa up 4.4%. Noting a growth of 12% across its customer base, Airtel Africa now counts 116.4 million customers across 14 markets, which span Eastern Africa, Francophone Africa and Nigeria.

CEO Raghunath Mandava (pictured) said: “The first half of our fiscal year included the peak impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the countries where we operate. In these unprecedented times, the telecoms industry has emerged as a key and essential service for these economies, allowing customers to work remotely, reduce their travels, keep them connected and allow access to affordable entertainment.

“In these exceptional circumstances, in the first half, we delivered a strong set of results and as lockdown restrictions eased during Q2 our performance continued to improve with constant currency revenue growth of 19.6%, up 6.6% from the prior quarter,” he added.

Elsewhere in its Q2 results, Airtel Africa reported that underlying EBITDA increased 12.8% to US$812 million while constant currency underlying EBITDA growth was 19.3%

Operating profit increased by 19.5% to $472 million, an increase of 28.3% in constant currency, while free cash flow was $319 million compared to $210 million in the same period last year.

Mandava added: “The fundamentals of our business remain strong and revenue growth further benefitted from the execution of our strategy with a specific focus on expanding distribution in the rural areas, investing in our network and increasing 4G coverage, as well as benefitting from the fact we provide an essential service to consumers.

“We remain alert to the potential for further disruptions from a second wave of Covid-19 across Africa, and the associated actions of governments to minimise contagion. Nevertheless, we are in a strong financial position to capture the opportunities in a fast-growing region that is vastly underpenetrated in terms of mobile and banking services. We remain confident of delivering long term sustained growth for our shareholders.”

Airtel Africa has experienced a strong run across its mobile money operation this year, with new partnerships established with MoneyGram International and Standard Chartered in recent months. In its most recent full year financial results, announced in May, the operator said Airtel Money represented  9% of the group’s gross revenues.