New Delhi: Bharti Airtel’s Africa arm has crossed the 100-million customer mark across its operations in the continent, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

This is significant for the company, which entered the continent in 2010. Airtel Africa is currently the second-largest mobile operator in Africa by the number of active subscribers; South Africa’s MTN is the largest.

“The positive momentum we have seen in customer acquisition further underpins our medium-term aspirations for revenue and profit growth," Raghunath Mandava, Airtel Africa’s chief executive officer, said in the statement.

Airtel Africa is the holding firm for Bharti Airtel’s operations in 14 countries in the continent across three regions — Nigeria; East Africa, comprising Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia; and the rest of Africa, including Niger, Gabon, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar and Seychelles. Nigeria alone accounts for almost half of its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda).

Also read: Airtel Africa raises $1.25 billion from SoftBank, 5 others before IPO

Airtel established its presence in Africa in 2010 when it bought Kuwait-based Zain’s Africa operations for $10.7 billion. Over the past few years, it has been trying to expand in Africa through local acquisitions.

Africa has also proved to be a beacon of hope for the company, currently faced with a struggling India business, which is battling a tariff war waged by Reliance Jio’s entry in September 2016.

Bharti Airtel’s Africa arm posted a revenue of $795.9 million in the June quarter, up 6.9% year-on-year, from $744.5 million, largely driven by double-digit growth in Nigeria and East Africa, and partially offset by a decline in revenue in the rest of Africa.

Airtel Africa posted a net profit of $132.2 million in the June quarter, a decrease of 12.2% against the previous year, as higher finance costs and lower gains on exceptional items offset its growth in operating profit. The June-quarter results were the company’s first financial results after it raised $750 million in June through its initial public offering (IPO). The shares were then priced at 80 pence per share, giving it a market capitalization of around $3.9 billion.

Its average revenue per user was $2.7 in the June quarter. Airtel Africa’s Ebitda rose 9.7% year-on-year to $347.6 million in the June quarter, from $316.9 million in the previous year.

The company’s revenue from data services grew to $207.1 million in the quarter, from $156.6 million a year ago, while voice revenue was flat at $469.9 million.

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