Airtel Africa reports $167.4m pre-tax profit

 Airtel Africa plc has posted a pre-tax of $167.4 million for the first quarter ended June 30, 2019 from $80.2 million a year earlier.

Total revenue rose 6.9 per cent to $795.9 million in the three months, boosted by a 9.3 per cent rise in the company’s customer base to 99.7 million despite a hit from currency translation with constant currency growth of 10.2 per cent. This is the 6th consecutive quarter of double-digit constant currency growth, according to a statement from the company.

 The telecom firm noted that revenue growth of 10.2 per cent in Constant currency was driven by double-digit growth in Nigeria and East Africa, partially offset by a decline in revenue in rest of Africa

  Growth was recorded across business products. Constant currency revenue in voice increased by 3.2 per cent, data revenue increased by 35.9 per cent and mobile money revenue grew by 41.8 per cent.

Reported underlying EBITDA was $ 347.6 million, up 9.7 per cent, while constant currency underlying EBITDA growth was 12.8 per cent.

 Underlying EBITDA margin in reported currency was 43.7 per cent, an increase of 111 bps, while there was an increase of 101 bps in constant currency terms.

 The company, which debuted on the London Stock Exchange last month, is backed by investors including SoftBank Group Corp , Warburg Pincus and Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd. It operates in a region that has a large untapped market, while its European peers have been suffering.

 Raghunath Mandava, Chief Executive Officer, commenting on the trading update, said: “I am pleased to report a strong start to the financial year, in our first quarterly results since the IPO. These results, which are in line with our expectations, are clear evidence of the effectiveness of our strategy across voice, data and mobile money.

“In the quarter, we delivered a 10 per cent increase in revenue in constant currency terms, with even higher underlying EBITDA growth largely as a result of operating leverage and a tight focus on costs which led to underlying EBITDA margin expansion of 101bps.

 “Voice revenue, our largest business product, was up 3 per cent largely driven by 9% growth in our customer base, now reaching nearly 100 million customers across our footprint. Data revenue, our largest contributor to growth, was up 36 per cent as an increasing number of customers relied on our high-quality and high-speed LTE network, resulting in a 79 per cent growth in data usage.

 “Mobile Money revenue, our fastest growing business, increased by 42 per cent as we expanded our distribution reach. We continued to invest in our 4G network, adding nearly 1,500 sites; now more than half of our sites are 4G. We also continue to prepare for the launch of our Mobile Money business in Nigeria, securing approval of the brand name, an important step as we await approval for our payment service bank license. The business continues to show momentum and we are confident of delivering sustained growth across Voice, Data and Mobile Money, underpinning our medium-term aspirations for revenue and profit growth.”

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