BY BAMIDELE FAMOOFO
Airtel Africa Plc, one of Nigeria’s most capitalized companies on the Nigerian Exchange Limited increased its total customer base by 9.0 percent to 140.0 million at the end of its financial year ended March 31, 2022.
Revenue in constant currency grew by 17.6 percent, with revenues growing by 11.5 percent to about $5.26 billion in reported currency.
The telco’s penetration of mobile data and mobile money services continued to rise, driving a 16.9 percent increase in data customers to 54.6 million and a 20.4 percent increase in mobile money customers to 31.5 million.
Constant currency ARPU growth of 7.4 percent was largely driven by increased usage across voice, data and mobile money.
The group’s mobile money transaction value increased by 41.3 percent, with Q4 ’23 annualised transaction value exceeding $102billion in constant currency.
While each segment’s reported currency revenue growth was impacted by currency devaluation, they all delivered double-digit constant currency revenue growth. Across the Group mobile service revenue grew by 16.2 percent in constant currency, driven by voice revenue growth of 11.8 percent and data revenue growth of 23.8 percent. Mobile money revenue grew by 29.6 percent in constant currency.
Profit after tax was $750 million, a decrease of only $5 million, after including a higher foreign exchange and derivative losses of $245 million.
Basic EPS at 17.7 cents was up by 5.2 percent due to higher operating profits and exceptional items gain on deferred tax credit recognition in Kenya, the DRC and Tanzania partially offset by higher foreign exchange and derivative losses. EPS before exceptional items was 13.6 cents, a reduction of 15.0 percent, largely due to higher foreign exchange and derivative losses of $245 million. EPS before exceptional items and excluding foreign exchange and derivative losses was 20.6 cents, up by 13.4 percent.
Olusegun Ogunsanya, chief executive officer, on the trading update, said: “Over the last year, the operating environment has been challenging in many ways, yet our strategic focus on providing reliable, affordable and accessible services across our markets has enabled us to sustain our top-line growth momentum. The resilience of our underlying EBITDA margins has shown the effectiveness of our operating model, despite significant inflationary and foreign exchange pressures. Strong customer and ARPU growth over the year demonstrates that demand for our services remains very strong and gives us the confidence to continue investing to support our future growth potential.
He disclosed that the group invested $500 million over the year on additional spectrum, including 5G, across many of our OpCos which, combined with our capex, will underpin our growth ambitions.
“Despite this investment, and driven by a disciplined capital allocation policy, our balance sheet remains strong and has been further de-risked over the last year by the prepayment of $450m HoldCo debt in July last year,” he noted.