East Africa: Airtel East Africa Turns Around Loss to Profits

Bharti Airtel East Africa units’ revenues for the nine months to September increased to $473 million, driven by a rise in data revenue within the period to $212 million.

The regional units also saw their profits rise to $102 million, from a loss of $91 million over the same period in 2017.

This comes as good news after the Indian telecommunications giant picked Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and four other banks to manage the initial public offering of its African unit. The other banks are Absa, Barclays Bank, Citigroup and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Raghunath Mandava, chief executive of Airtel Africa, said they stepped up their capital expenditure during the quarter to build a formidable long-term evolution (LTE) network.

“This positions us well to expand our growth journey to enhance customer experience with the best-in-class network and products. This quarter also marks the first time we are disclosing our regional and product-wise performance, as it provides a more holistic view of our operations across the continent,” said Mr Mandava.

During the quarter, the East African units incurred a capital expenditure of $53 million, primarily on network expansion, while their operating cash flow for the quarter was $49 million, lower than last year’s $71 million.

Voice revenue

The voice revenue for the Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwandan units grew by 6.2 per cent to $169 million, compared with $159 million in the corresponding quarter last year.