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Airtel Africa Grows Customer Base to 111.5 Million in Q2 2020

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Airtel Africa Increase Customer Base by 11.8% to 111.5 Million

Airtel Africa Plc, one of Africa’s leading telecommunications companies, on Thursday reported a 11.8 percent increase in customer base to 111.5 million for the second quarter of 2020.

Airtel grew revenue by 6.9 percent $851 million, while constant currency revenue growth expanded by 13 percent.

In the financial statement released on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Friday, the telecom giant said it recorded constant currency revenue growth across key business segments, with voice revenue rising by 2.2 percent and data expanding by 35.7 percent during the quarter.

The company said its mobile money segment grew by 26.3 percent in the second quarter of the year.

Key Highlights of the Quarter

  • Underlying EBITDA increased by 7.9% to $375m, with constant currency growth of 14.6%
  • Reported underlying EBITDA margin was 44.1%, up by 40 bps(61 bpsin constant currency)
  • Operating profit increased by 12.9% to $210m, an increase of 21.5% in constant currency
  • Free cash flow was $96m compared to $62m in the same period last year
  • Earnings per share (EPS) before exceptional items was $1.0 cents and basic EPS was $1.1 cents
  • Net debt to underlying EBITDA was 2.2x, compared to 3.0x in June 2019

Commenting on the performance, Raghunath Mandava, Chief Executive Officer, said: “During last quarter our business was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, as restrictions on movements of people and ways of socialising were introduced to contain the spread of infection. In these unprecedented times, we have worked with governments, regulators, partners, and suppliers to keep customers and businesses connected as well as supporting the economies and communities. We focussed on expanding and maintaining our network to ensure it could cope with increasing demand, we kept our distribution up and running by increasing the penetration of digital recharges and stock levels, and we expanded our home broadband solutions to ensure customers could work and access entertainment remotely.

Covid-19 impacted customer usage pattern, particularly during the month of April, however, as some of these restrictions started to be lifted, customer usage trends in May and June returned to being broadly consistent with pre Covid-19 trends. The Group’s performance generally reflected these trends, with revenue growth accelerating in May, and we ended the quarter with 13% revenue growth and 61 bps of EBITDA margin expansion in constant currency. The business showed its resilience even during these unprecedent circumstances with all key business segments – voice, data and mobile money, and all regions – Nigeria, East Africa and Francophone Africa contributing to growth.

During the quarter we also increased our support of the communities where we operate by providing financial support towards essential workers, free data for educational purposes and we worked together with governments to temporarily waive fees on certain mobile money transactions. We also created an exciting partnership with UNICEF to provide children with access to remote learning and enable access to cash assistance for their families via mobile cash transfers.

The outlook remains uncertain, particularly regarding a so called potential second wave of infections and the actions governments will decide to take in that event. However, these results are further evidence of the growth opportunities our markets offer and the effectiveness of our strategy to focus on winning customers, investing in our network and expanding our voice, data and mobile money businesses.

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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Pantami Moves to Tackle $2.16bn Capital Flight from Telecoms Sector

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$2.16bn Leaves Telecommunications Sector Yearly

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has put the total capital flight from the telecommunications sector at $2.16 billion per year.

A large part of the total amount comes from those renewing and purchasing software licenses, domain subscriptions and renewals, and cybersecurity.

The minister said to stem the trend, the ministry has developed a policy to promote local content in the sector.

In his speech at the digital day celebration, Pantami said the Indigenous Content Development and Adoption, under Pillar #8 of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (2020 – 2030), would tackle the issue.

Pantami said, “As part of our efforts to promote indigenous content, we have developed a policy for promoting indigenous content in the telecom sector to complement similar efforts that focus on the information technology sector.

“This is important to stem the tide of capital flight, among other things. A report of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria suggests that such capital flight in the telecom sector is as high as $2.16bn annually.

“A healthy digital economy requires a robust indigenous content policy to significantly reduce this.”

Pantami stated that there was an urgent need to promote and support the development of indigenous content in all sectors.

He explained that the Indigenous Content Development and Adoption pillar was addressing this for the digital economy.

This pillar aligns with Executive Orders 003 of May 2017 and 005 of February 2018, on ‘Support for Local Content Procurements by Ministries, Department and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria,” he said.

Speaking on broadband, the minister said the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) was created to speed up the growth of broadband connectivity in Nigeria.

Pantami said, “The plan is designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90 per cent of the population by 2025.

“This will be at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data (two per cent of median income or one per cent of minimum wage).

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Nigeria’s Fintech Startups Raised $122 Million in 2019

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Financial Technology Startups in Nigeria Raised $122 Million in 2019

Financial Technology (fintech) startups in Nigeria raised a combined $122 million in 2019, according to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

Mr. Olumide Bolumole, the Divisional Head of Listings Business, NSE, disclosed this while speaking on the fintech industry and its growth in recent years.

“The Fintech industry in Nigeria continues to gain increasing popularity after taking the lead in Africa and attracting $122 million in funds in 2019.

“At the exchange, we recognise the opportunity to provide a platform where players in the Fintech landscape can have easier access to right-sized capital to fulfil their organisational objectives.

“The NSE is, therefore, committed to developing multiple solutions to address the needs of the Fintech community in Nigeria such as the provision of the NSE Growth Board.

“The exchange will also prioritise collaborations with organisations such as FinTechNGR to ensure solutions from this webinar are implemented for the benefit of the sector,” he said.

However, with just about 200 fintech companies in Nigeria, the sector is still young and just emerging with room for growth, considering the fact that most Nigerians are still unbanked.

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Fintech Companies Raised $554 Million in Investment Last Week

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Financial Technology Firms Raised $554 Million Investment Capital Last Week

Financial Technology (Fintech) companies raised a combined $554.17 million from investment rounds last week.

A data compiled by Finbold showed the top 25 fintech firms were led by Razorpay and Wealthsimple.

Razorpay, a payment platform, raised $100 million to account for 18.04 percent of the total amount raised during the week. This was followed by Wealthsimple’s $87 million.

Deepwatch came third with $53 million while NYDIG and M1 Finance came fourth and fifth with $50 million and $45 million, respectively.

Other noteable fintechs include Extend $40 million; FOSSA $30.55 million; +Simple $23.75 million; Finexio $23 million; and Sonrai Security $20 million.

On the other hand, Evolve Credit was the last among the 25 companies. It raised $0.025 million while Upside Saving raised the second least fund at $0.42 million. Also, they were the two firms that raised below $1 million in the week under review.

Oliver Scott, a Finbold editor, who spoke on funding in the fintech sector, said “Notably, venture capital is still the primary source of funding for fintech startups. However, new trends indicate a high level of private equity and debt financing. Additionally, more funding activity is concentrated around later funding rounds. The sector is also witnessing a rise in IPOs and acquisitions. Such trends are pointing to a maturing market.”

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