Development in data, voice and mobile money subscriptions has increased Airtel’s revenue in Nigeria by 27.7 per cent with the group subsequently declaring $4.7 billion in revenue.
Airtel, in its financial year report ended March 31, 2022, released yesterday, the firm informed that its constant currency underlying revenue growth was strong in all regions with Nigeria up 27.7 per cent, East Africa up 22.7 per cent and Francophone Africa up 17.2 per cent; and across all key services.
It stressed that its revenue in voice was up 15.4 per cent, data up 34.6 per cent and mobile money up 34.9 per cent.
According to Airtel, its underlying EBITDA margin was 49.0 per cent. It increased by 294 basis points, while the operating profit grew by 37.2 per cent to $1.53 billion in reported currency.
The telecommunications firm said its profit after tax grew by 82 per cent to $755 million, with its basic earnings per share (EPS) of 16.8 cents, an increase of 86.5 per cent.
The report showed that the operating free cash flow of $1.65 billion, up 40.5 per cent, with net cash generated from operating activities up 20.7 per cent to $2.01 billion. Airtel said over the last 12 months the business has repaid nearly $1.4 billion of debt at HoldCo as a result of strong cash upstreaming across its OpCos and proceeds from minority investments in mobile money and tower sales.
It stressed that its leverage ratio improved to 1.3x from 2.0x in the prior year, with $1 billion of debt now held at HoldCo (FY’21: $2.4bn).
According to the firm, the customer base increased to 128.4 million, up 8.7 per cent, with increased penetration across mobile data (customer base up 15.2 per cent) and mobile money services (customer base up 20.7 per cent).
Airtel claimed that the NIN/SIM regulations in Nigeria impacted customer growth in H1, but then returned to strong growth, adding four million customers in Nigeria during H2’22.
On the trading update, Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa, Segun Ogunsanya, said: “This is another strong set of results for Airtel Africa, demonstrating our solid execution as we continue to enrich the lives of a growing number of people through leveraging the sizeable opportunity to promote digital and financial inclusion across our markets.
“We have delivered strong double-digit growth in revenues across all our regions and all our key services, with improving margins driven by strong cost control, and expanding cash generation which is enabling us to continue to invest in our network and services and expand our distribution, as well as strengthening our balance sheet and increasing our returns to shareholders. We are connecting more customers in new and existing coverage areas and driving usage levels and ARPUs to new highs.
“We have successfully executed a number of strategic initiatives in the year, with tower sales completed in four countries, $550 million of minority investments secured for our mobile money business and a successful buyout of minorities in our Nigerian operation. Our receipt last month of a full PSB licence in Nigeria will help us to accelerate financial inclusion in the territory and drive our mobile money business even faster.”
Ogunsanya noted that while the fundamentals of the firm’s six-pillar growth strategy remain unchanged, the firm is looking to accelerate its performance through a greater focus on digitalisation and has underpinned its strategic pillars with its sustainability ambition.
“I am particularly proud of the progress we have made in articulating our sustainability strategy this year as well as the partnership we announced with UNICEF to help drive and support educational programmes in our territories. I very much look forward to us publishing both our pathway to net-zero and our first full sustainability report later in the year.
“Turning to the outlook, long-term opportunities for us remain attractive. While mindful of currency devaluation and repatriation risks, we continue to work actively to mitigate all our material risks and deliver value for all our stakeholders. There are increasing challenges from global inflationary pressures, but we continue to target revenue growth ahead of the market and moderate margin expansion.”