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Airtel Africa FY21 net profit flat at $415 million

Airtel Africa is the holding firm for Bharti Airtel’s operations in 14 countries, with Nigeria alone accounting for almost half of its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda). (MINT)Premium
Airtel Africa is the holding firm for Bharti Airtel’s operations in 14 countries, with Nigeria alone accounting for almost half of its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda). (MINT)

  • Airtel Africa’s revenue from operations for FY21 was at $3,888 mn, up 19.4% Y-o-Y in constant currency and 13.6% on a reported basis, driven by robust growth across voice, data and mobile money segments in key markets of Nigeria, East Africa and Francophone Africa

Bharti Airtel Ltd’s Africa unit on Wednesday reported a net profit of $415 million for the financial year ended March, compared to $408 million a year ago, the company said in a statement.

Airtel Africa PLC’s revenue from operations for fiscal year 2021 was at $3,888 million, up 19.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) in constant currency and 13.6% on a reported basis, driven by robust growth across voice, data and mobile money segments in key markets of Nigeria, East Africa and Francophone Africa.

Reported currency revenue also benefitted from a one-time exceptional gain of $20 million relating to a settlement in Niger, the company said.

Airtel Africa is the holding firm for Bharti Airtel’s operations in 14 countries, with Nigeria alone accounting for almost half of its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda).

The total customer base expanded 6.9% to 118.2 million during FY21. However, net subscribers dropped 0.7 million sequentially during the March quarter. Airtel Africa’s average revenue per user (Arpu) rose to $2.8 during FY21, registering a growth of 7.7% y-o-y in constant currency.

Airtel Africa’s mobile data customer base increased 14.5% y-o-y during the fiscal ended March and that of mobile money services rose 18.5%. “The recent slowdown in customer base growth has been due to new SIM card registration regulations in Nigeria," the company said.

Airtel Africa faced significant challenges in the initial phase of the pandemic in the first quarter of FY21, when growth of the company’s voice, data and mobile money services slowed down, the company said. However, strategic actions taken by the telco‘s board during the quarter enabled meeting higher demand for data, mobile money and other services by customers.

“Around the world the vaccination effort has started, with many governments hinting at a possible significant easing of social distancing rules and travel restrictions this year, though it looks like Africa may lag other economies in attaining full vaccination cover," the firm said.

“Despite the resilience demonstrated by our business during the year, we are monitoring how the situation is evolving to identify key risks and put in place adequate mitigation plans to minimise any potential disruptions," it added.

The company’s Ebitda came in at $1,792 million during the financial year 2021, up 18.3% y-o-y on a reported basis and 25.2% in constant currency. Ebitda margin was 46.1% during the year, 210 basis points (bps) higher than a year ago. In the March quarter, the company’s Ebitda margin rose 389 bps to 47.7% in constant currency.

“Contributions to revenue and Ebitda growth came from across all regions, with particular improvement in Francophone Africa, and across all our major services, with mobile money, data and voice each posting double-digit revenue growth," said Raghunath Mandava, chief executive officer (CEO), Airtel Africa.

Mandava said the company will soon have two minority investors—TPG-owned The Rise Fund and MasterCard—as part of Airtel Africa’s strategy to unlock value of its mobile money business. The proposed transactions with The Rise Fund and MasterCard will value Airtel Africa’s mobile money business at $2.65 billion and will bring in another $300 million into the company.

“We have also agreed to sell more of our tower portfolio, yielding yet more cash for the business," he said.

Mandava will retire from his post and as director on Airtel Africa’s board on 30 September, following which Olusegun Ogunsanya will take over as the new managing director and CEO.

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