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Airtel Africa Grows Revenue by 14.2 Percent to $3,908m in Q1 2021

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Airtel Financial Results - Investors King

Airtel Africa Plc, a leading telecommunications company in Africa, grew its revenue by 14.2 percent to $3,908 million in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021, the company stated in its just-released financial statements.

The company reported growth across all its regions with East Africa leading with 23.5 percent growth. Nigeria followed with 21.9 percent growth while Francophone Africa accounted for 10 percent growth. See Airtel Africal financial highlights below.

Airtel Africa Financial Highlights

 Reported revenue grew by 14.2% to $3,908m, with Q4’21 reported revenue growth of 15.4%.
 Constant currency underlying revenue growth was 19.4%, with Q4’21 growth of 21.7%. Growth was recorded across all regions: Nigeria up 21.9%, East Africa up 23.5% and Francophone Africa up 10%; and across key services, with revenues for voice up 11.0%, data up 31.2% and mobile money up 35.5%.
 Underlying EBITDA was $1,792m, up 18.3% in reported currency, and growing 25.2% in constant currency.
 Underlying EBITDA margin was 46.1%, adding 181 basis points(210 basis points higher in constant currency). Underlying EBITDA margin for Q4’21 was 47.7%, an increase of 389 basis points in constant currency.
 Operating profit increased 24.2% to $1,119m in reported currency, and by 32.8% in constant currency.
 Free cash flow was $647m, up 42.8% on the prior year.
 Basic EPS was 9.0 cents, down 12.6%, largely due to prior year exceptional items and a one-off derivative gain. Excluding these, basic restated EPS rose 44.5%. EPS before exceptional items was 8.2 cents.
 Our customer base grew by 6.9% to 118.2 million, with increased penetration across mobile data (customer base up 14.5%) and mobile money services (customer base up 18.5%). The recent slowdown in customer base growth has been due to new SIM registration regulationsin Nigeria.
 The Board has recommended a final dividend of 2.5 cents per share, making the total dividend for FY21 4.0 cents per share.

Commenting on the company’s performance, Raghunath Mandava, chief executive officer, said “In these challenging timesI want to say a huge thank you to all our employees, our business partners, and governments and regulators who have supported us, and in turn facilitated our continued support to the economies and communities we serve.

“Our performance has been strong, with reported growth of 13.6% in underlying revenue and 18.3% in underlying EBITDA, and constant currency growth of 19.4% and 25.2% respectively. Contributions to this growth came 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.

“Our customer base also grew strongly for most of the year with new customer registration requirements in Nigeria stemming our onboarding of new customers in the final quarter, and these restrictions were lifted in second half of April.

“In line with our strategy of unlocking value in our mobile money business, we will soon welcome two new minority investors (The Rise Fund and Mastercard) in agreed transactions which value this part of our business at $2.65bn, as well as bringing $300m into the Group. We have also agreed to sell more of our tower portfolio, yielding yet more cash for the business.

“The Covid pandemic had eased during the course of the year, however, more recently we have seen a surge in cases. So far this has had no adverse impact on the business, though we will continue to monitor the situation closely.

“In these times, our purpose of transforming lives has never been more critical. It has always meant more than simply providing mobile and financial services; it is about our drive to create a sustainable future. To that end, this year the leadership team has worked to create our sustainability framework, outlining the role we can play and the focus areas where we can make the biggest difference for each of our business, our people, our community, and our environment.

“We will report back with our goals later this year and deliver our first sustainability report in 2022. The combination of bringing connectivity to underpenetrated mobile markets and improving financial inclusion through banking the unbanked, across our territories of operation, together provide us with a sizeable runway of sustainable profitable growth potential, and one we remain very confident of delivering.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Telecommunications

NCC To Restructure International Termination Rate

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Nigerian Communications Commission

The Nigerian Communications Commission intends to restructure and roll out a new international termination rate.

The commission made this known in a statement on Thursday after it said it had finalised the process for determining the cost-based price of Mobile International Termination Rate.

This move would ensure healthy competition on traffic handling for voice services between local and international operators in Nigeria.

Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, noted that the cost-based study became imperative, as there was a need to find the optimum price for the termination of international voice services that will be beneficial to all relevant industry stakeholders.

Danbatta said, “overriding need for regulatory options and intervention in relation to the international termination rate in the voice market segment is predicated on some intractable challenges, most common with economies with severe macroeconomic volatility such as ours.”

ITR is the rate paid to local operators by international operators to terminate calls in Nigeria as contrasted with MTR, which is the rate local operators pay to another local operator to terminate calls within the country.

He further explained how Nigeria’s ITR’s rate was below that of most countries with which it made and received calls. And this made Nigerian operators perpetual net players.

“The obvious implication of this is seen in the attendant undue pressure on the nation’s foreign reserves, which continue to get depleted by associated net transfers to foreign operators on account of this lopsidedness,” Danbatta added.

The vice-chairman further stated that regulating the ITR was imperative for developing countries, such as Nigeria, with volatile currencies in order to prevent or mitigate the imbalance of payments with international operators.

In 2013, the NCC issued a Determination stating that mobile Termination Rates (MTR) are the same irrespective of where the call originated. Although, operators at that time thought it meant that ITR should be the same rate as the MTR, consequently ignoring the international cost portion.

The Director, Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis, NCC, Yetunde Akinloye, noted that the process was intended to complement and consolidate the initial work done by the Commission which had also culminated in an MTR Determination published in June 2018.

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Telecommunications

Glo Lunches ALWAYS ON To Retain Subscribers’ Lines For A Year

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globacom - Investors King

Globacom, one of the leading telecom operators in Nigeria, has introduced a remedy that solves the problem associated with the disconnection of network users from the Glo network after 90 days as a result of inactivity.

This was disclosed yesterday by the national phone operator when it unveiled its new prepaid tariff, tagged: ALWAYS ON, which allows subscribers to retain their phone numbers for one full year even if they do not use the lines during the period.

In a statement released in Lagos yesterday, Globacom said its subscribers no longer need to worry about their lines getting suspended or disconnected even if they have not made or received calls, used data, or sent or received SMS in one year.

According to the brand, with a token payment of just N500, “the customer will enjoy the assurance of 365 days of continuous service, even if the customer does not make or receive calls, text or browse”.

“ALWAYS ON is available to all existing and new prepaid Glo subscribers and is especially beneficial to customers who travel out of the country for long periods of time without access to the network or customers whose handsets get stolen or whose SIMs get damaged but do not have immediate means of replacement. They can now be rest assured that their lines will not be disconnected due to inactivity,” Globacom explained.

To enjoy the innovative offering, subscribers are required to simply dial *777# and select ALWAYS ON from the menu. “Upon confirmation, a one-time fee of N500 will be deducted from the customer’s main account after which he or she will be subscribed to the plan and given 365 days of uninterrupted access to the network,” the company added.

The customer can make and receive calls at any time during the 365 days as long as he or she has sufficient airtime balance in the account. There is no need to visit any Gloworld or to contact customer care for the line to be reactivated.

ALWAYS ON customers can still purchase any Glo products and services they wish and they can also subscribe to any other GLO tariff plan at any time via *777# or via Glo Café.

Towards the expiration of the ALWAYS ON subscription, Globacom explained, the subscriber will receive SMS and email reminders (where applicable) for him or her to re-subscribe to the ALWAYS ON plan.

“With this new and exciting value proposition, we have again established ourselves as the brand that gives customers the most value for money,” Globacom concluded.

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Telecommunications

Orange Middle East and Africa, AXA Assurance Maroc Sign an Agreement to Acquire a Majority Stake in DabaDoc

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Orange - Investors King

Orange Middle East and Africa and AXA CIMA entities led by AXA Assurance Maroc announce that an agreement has been signed on the joint acquisition of a majority stake in DabaDoc, alongside the company’s founders.

DabaDoc, founded by Zineb Drissi-Kaitouni and Driss Drissi-Kaitouni in 2014, is a platform that digitalizes access to healthcare in Africa. DabaDoc has developed solutions that are used by thousands of healthcare professionals in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. Orange and AXA’s investment and network will accelerate DabaDoc’s growth and extend DabaDoc’s services to other regions, in particular Sub-Saharan Africa. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.

Orange Middle East and Africa is thereby confirming its ambition to be the leading multi-services digital operator in the region. Through its partnership with DabaDoc and relying on AXA’s globally recognized expertise in healthcare, Orange is positioned as a key player in e-health.

Following its first investment in DabaDoc in 2018, AXA Assurance Maroc is once again consolidating its partnership with the company to accelerate the digitalization and integration of its customers’ healthcare journey, facilitating its policyholders’ interactions with healthcare professionals, notably via DabaDoc’s appointment booking and remote consultation infrastructure and network.

In cementing this tri-party partnership, DabaDoc will benefit from the broad experience of AXA, one of the global leaders in health insurance, and Orange’s technological expertise and payment solutions to enable digital solutions to be developed that rapidly scale and benefit patients and the entire African healthcare ecosystem.

Zineb Drissi-Kaitouni, co-founder and CEO of DabaDoc, said: “DabaDoc, a leading health-tech platform in Africa, is supporting the digital transformation of healthcare professions. Orange’s investment in DabaDoc and AXA’s renewed investment will strengthen DabaDoc’s growth ambitions through Orange and AXA’s presence in Africa and the Middle East. The pandemic has strengthened our belief that the digitalization of healthcare services is essential and inevitable.”

Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa, said: “We are delighted to commit to this ambitious partnership with AXA and DabaDoc to serve the healthcare needs of everyone in Africa and the Middle East through digital technology. At Orange, we are convinced that the digital transformation is a source of progress and that e-health has huge potential. As a responsible operator on the continent, we want to contribute to this major social challenge, especially during a pandemic. The deployment of this type of solution in the countries where we are present will greatly facilitate populations’ access to healthcare services, which is essential to the continent’s development.”

Meryem Chami, CEO of AXA Assurance Maroc and AXA CIMA, said: “AXA is a global leader in health insurance and related services. This is one of the Group’s strategic priorities as part of the Driving Progress 2023 plan. This ambition is even stronger as we are facing an unprecedented health crisis. Through this partnership, we therefore aim to enable patients to access a better healthcare journey in Morocco and to support DabaDoc through its development in the CIMA countries as well.”

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