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Airtel records 14% growth in revenues to $659m in East Africa

But the firm’s overall Africa operations had its net profit fall by 36% to $145m

Kampala, Uganda | ISAAC KHISA | Bharti Airtel operations in East Africa have recorded a 14% growth in revenue to US$659million for the six months ending Sept. 30, citing an increase in subscribers.

The firm’s financial results released on Oct.23 shows a 5.4% growth in voice revenues to US$312million across the East African market which includes Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia.

Equally, data and mobile money services recorded a 21.2% and 33.2% growth in revenues to US$ 174million and US$132 million, respectively, during the same period.

The firm said the double digit growth in revenues was attributed to an increase in subscriber numbers from 12.1million to 14.9million as well as 4G infrastructure network expansion from 60% to 68.6% of the sites during the same period under review.

“Our mobile network in Uganda, Zambia and Malawi now consists of 100% of 4G sites. The total data usage on our network grew by 83.8% and 4G data usage almost tripled and now contributes 44.6% to the total data usage,” the firm said in a statement adding, “Data usage per customer reached 2.6GB, up by 49.1% from 1.7GB per customer in previous period.”

Its operating profit grew by 66% to US$184million and so is the free cash flow that increased 21.9% to US$211million.

In terms of Bharti Airtel Africa’s operations which also includes Nigerian and Francophone countries, the Indian-based firm recorded a double-digit growth in voice revenues from US$954million to US$972 million.

Data revenues increased by 26.4% to US$548milion while mobile money revenues increased by 24.3% to US$181million during the same period under review.

This enabled Airtel Africa to record a 10.7% growth in the overall revenue to US$1,825million. Moreover, the firm’s operating profit for the half year was $472million, up by 19.5%, as a result of strong revenue growth and lower operating expenditures in proportion to revenue.

However, the profit after tax was $145m, down by 36.6% amidst a 12% increase in subscribers to 116.4 million, largely as a result of the recognition in the prior year of one-off gain of $72million related to the expired indemnity to certain pre-IPO investors, as well as higher finance costs and tax in the current period.

Raghunath Mandava, chief executive officer at Airtel Africa said the firm delivered strong performance amidst the effects of coronavirus pandemic which saw various countries across the continent including Uganda institute various measures to contain its spread.

“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,” he said.

“The firm is 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.”

Mandava said the company remains confident of delivering long term sustained growth for its shareholders.

Last year, the Airtel Africa which operates in 14 countries in Africa, primarily in East Africa, Central and West Africa, recorded 4.4% drop in its net profit to US$408 million for the full financial year that ended on March 31, 2020 compared to $426 million in the previous year.

The total revenue of the London Stock Exchange listed telco increased by 11.2 % to $3,422 million as against $3,077 million, helped by a spurt in revenue across the voice, data and mobile money segments.

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