L–R: Segun Ogunsanya, Managing Director/CEO, Airtel Nigeria Plc; Oscar N. Onyema, OON, Chief Executive Officer, The Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE and Awuneba Ajumogobia, Member Airtel Africa Board during the listing of Airtel Africa Plc on the Daily Official List of The NSE today in Lagos.

Africa on Thursday published its first quarter report for the period ended 30, June 2020. The Telco giant grew its revenue by 6.9% to $851m from $796m.

Airtel reported profit before tax (PBT) of $111 million, down by 33.4% when compared to the PBT of $167 million the previous year.

Profit after tax of $57 million was achieved in the first quarter, down by 56.9% from the PAT of $132 million.

Earnings per share (EPS) for the period under review is $1.1 cents, down by 72.8% from the EPS of $4.1 cents reported the previous year.

Key highlights

Customer base grew by 11.8% to 111.5 million

Revenue increased by 6.9% to $851m, with constant currency revenue growth of 13.0%

Constant currency revenue growth was recorded across all key business segments, with voice revenue up by 2.2%, data by 35.7% and mobile money by 26.3%

Underlying EBITDA increased by 7.9% to $375m, with constant currency growth of 14.6%

Reported underlying EBITDA margin was 44.1%, up by 40 bps(61 bpsin constant currency)

Operating profit increased by 12.9% to $210m, an increase of 21.5% in constant currency

Free cash flow was $96m compared to $62m in the same period last year

Earnings per share (EPS) before exceptional items was $1.0 cents and basic EPS was $1.1 cents

Net debt to underlying EBITDA was 2.2x, compared to 3.0x in June 2019

 

Commenting of the financial report, the Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Africa, Raghunath Mandava stated thus:

“During last quarter our business was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, as restrictions on movements of people and ways of socialising were introduced to contain the spread of infection. In these unprecedented times, we have worked with governments, regulators, partners, and suppliers to keep customers and businesses connected as well as supporting the economies and communities. We focussed on expanding and maintaining our network to ensure it could cope with increasing demand, we kept our distribution up and running by increasing the penetration of digital recharges and stock levels, and we expanded our home broadband solutions to ensure customers could work and access entertainment remotely.

Covid-19 impacted customer usage pattern, particularly during the month of April, however, as some of these restrictions started to be lifted, customer usage trends in May and June returned to being broadly consistent with pre Covid-19 trends. The Group’s performance generally reflected these trends, with revenue growth accelerating in May, and we ended the quarter with 13% revenue growth and 61 bps of EBITDA margin expansion in constant currency. The business showed its resilience even during these unprecedent circumstances with all key business segments – voice, data and mobile money, and all regions – Nigeria, East Africa and Francophone Africa contributing to growth.

During the quarter we also increased our support of the communities where we operate by providing financial support towards essential workers, free data for educational purposes and we worked together with governments to temporarily waive fees on certain mobile money transactions. We also created an exciting partnership with UNICEF to provide children with access to remote learning and enable access to cash assistance for their families via mobile cash transfers.

The outlook remains uncertain, particularly regarding a so called potential second wave of infections and the actions governments will decide to take in that event. However, these results are further evidence of the growth opportunities our markets offer and the effectiveness of our strategy to focus on winning customers, investing in our network and expanding our voice, data and mobile money businesses