Airtel Africa has upped up its subscriber base on the continent by 9% to 99.7 million, with growth in overall revenue and average revenue per user for mobile money, translating to a post-tax profit of US$132.2-million.
The company operates in Nigeria, Zambia, the DRC and Malawi among others under clusters Rest of Africa and East Africa. It raised US$750-million after a successful IPO offering in June this year.
“Constant currency revenue growth was largely driven by a 9% increase in the customer base, to 99.7 million, and a broadly stable ARPU at $ 2.7,” the company said in a trading update for the June 2019 quarter on Wednesday.
This was underpinned by “double digit revenue growth in Nigeria and East Africa (which) more than offset a revenue decrease in Rest of Africa” region.
“Across products, revenue growth in constant currency was widespread with mobile Voice (+3.2%), Data (+35.9%), and Mobile Money (+41.8%), all delivering growth.”
This translated to an operating profit increase of 9.7%. As a result of this, basic earnings per share in the group was US$4.1 cents which is 62.2% weaker, mainly because of an increase in the number of shares issued to pre-IPO investors.
Nigeria a hotbed
Nigeria was the hotbed for the company’s revenue increase after income quickened 22.2% in line with constant currency growth as a result of a stable foreign exchange environment in the country. Voice revenue for Nigeria was 12.7% stronger, driven by double digit increase in customer growth.
“Data revenue was up 73.1% and it was the largest contributor to revenue growth … driven by a 21% increase in customer base and growth in ARPU as a result of the increased penetration of 4G data customers.”
Airtel Africa’s revenue in the East Africa cluster was a modest 4% stronger as “constant currency growth of 9.6% was partially compensated by currency devaluation in Zambia and Malawi” markets.
The revenue growth in the cluster was fuelled by growth in all three products of voice, data and mobile money which appears to be taking root under the group’s Airtel Money offering.
Raghunath Mandava, chief executive officer for Airtel Africa described the company’s mobile money offering on the continent as “the fastest growing business” unit.
Revenue for the voice category in East Africa region strengthened, attributed to customer growth and increased usage despite slowing down ARPUs as a result of a decline in “interconnect usage rates in Tanzania, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia”.
Capital expenditure during the quarter increased by 41.3% to US$29.8-million, driven into network investment resulting in the number of 4G sites doubling and covering 47% of total sites.
“We continued to invest in our 4G network, adding nearly 1,500 sites; now more than half of our sites are 4G. We also continue to prepare for the launch of our mobile money business in Nigeria, securing approval of the brand name, an important step as we await approval for our payment service bank license,” said Mandava.