Airtel Africa makes $154.5m in profits

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Airtel Africa’s post-tax profit for the quarter that closed in March is $154.52 million, up from $57.5 million in the last quarter of 2016-17. This is a record profit margin in the eight years since the company commenced its African operations.

Airtel Africa CEO, Raghunath Mandava said, “Africa revenues grew by 10.7% year-on-year led by strong growth in data and Airtel money transaction value. Mobile data traffic has grown by 88% to 70 billion megabytes in the quarter as compared with 37 billion MBs in the corresponding quarter last year. Data customers increased by 48% to 24.9 million from 16.9 million in the corresponding quarter last year.”

During the quarter, Bharti Airtel acquired Tigo Rwanda, a transaction that reportedly completed earlier this year.

“Our strategy in Africa is centered on strengthening our distribution model and enhancing the consumer experience via network modernization,” he added.

However, Airtel Africa’s average revenue per user fell by 1.8% to $3 year-on-year. At the end of March this year, Airtel Africa had a data customer base of 24.9 million, accounting for 27.9% of its total customer base compared to the previous year’s 22%.

Nilanjan Roy, Airtel global CFO said that the steady improvement across the top and bottom-line in the African operations was driven by the twin engines of data and mobile money, underpinned by strict cost controls. “We have seen a net revenue growth of 13.4% year-on-year, while the operations expenditure has declined 5.4% in the past year. The business has entered into a sustainable positive cashflow era, which gives us confidence that the investment rationale seven years ago is still valid today.”