Finance

Data, mobile money push Airtel Africa Q4 profit to $154m

Loses 2.5m active mobile customers in Q1
Bharti Airtel has said that its Africa’s operation reported a net profit of $154 million in the fourth quarter of last year, which doubled on-year and jumped 32.7 per cent sequentially on the back of strong growth in data and mobile money revenue.

Revenue for the quarter ended March 31 rose 15.4 per cent to $1.04 billion, the company said in a statement released on Wednesday.

Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa, Raghunath Mandava, said: “Our performance has been strong, with reported growth of 13.6 per cent in underlying revenue and 18.3 per cent in underlying EBITDA, and constant currency growth of 19.4 per cent and 25.2 per cent, 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.”

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Mandava, who is to be replaced by Airtel Nigeria’s Olusegun Ogunsanya, added: “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 the second half of April.”

Airtel’s subscriber base across 14 countries in Africa declined one per cent on-quarter to 118.2 million users but the monthly churn rate dropped to 3.9 per cent, the lowest in the last five years. In the whole year, the subscriber base grew 6.9 per cent. The average revenue per user (ARPU) grew 6.6 per cent on-year to $2.9 in the January-March period.

Economic Times of India reported that Airtel’s data revenue grew 24.2 per cent on yearly basis to $315. Although growth in voice revenue was the slowest at 7.2 per cent, it remains to be the largest contributing segment with revenue of $547 in the fourth quarter.

Data customer base at the end of March, 2021 was 40.6 million and voice minutes users were 118.2 million.

Airtel said the mobile money segment continued to be the fastest-growing with revenue growth of 32.7 per cent year-on-year to $110 million. Active mobile money user base increased 18.5 per cent to 21.7 million while mobile money ARPU was up six per cent year-on-year to $1.7.

Also, Airtel Africa said it lost 2.5 million active mobile customers in the first quarter of the year due to the Nigerian Communications Commission ban on SIM card sales and registration.

Mandava, who stated it in the firm’s financial statement, added: “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 the second half of April.”

In March, the company announced an investment of $200 million by TPG’s Rise Fund and $100 million by Mastercard in Airtel Mobile Commerce BV, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Airtel Africa valuing the mobile money business at $2.65 billion on a cash and debt-free basis.

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Guardian

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