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How Nigeria grossed Bharti Airtel’s continental earnings in full year results

Latest full year results of Bharti Airtel, has shown jumping performance in African business as subscribers on the continent rose by 10.7 per cent year-on-year to 98.9 million across 14 markets. The firm currently operates in Nigeria, Ghana, Chad, Gabon, DRC, Malawi, Madagascar, Kenya, Congo, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
However, a deeper look into the subscriber of each of the African markets showed that Nigeria certainly did the magic in growing earnings of the group within the period under review.
Already, industry followers say Airtel Nigeria’s 45 million subscribers remains a feat to beat by the Indian group’s operations across the continent.
Recall that currently, the telecom is the third largest operator in Nigeria with 45 million subscribers and 26.2 per cent market share.
Besides, in its report, Connecting Africa said Airtel’s data customers increased by 20.4 per cent to 30 million, compared to 24.9 million a year earlier. The active Airtel Money customer base increased to 14.2 million, boosting the total transaction value on Airtel Money platform by 30 per cent to $26.16 billion.
In his remarks, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Africa Airtel, Raghunath Mandava, though failed to make special reference to performance in Nigerian market, averred that “The Africa growth story remains strong with the full year witnessing a 12 per cent revenue growth.
“That near 12 per cent growth was at constant currency exchange rates, but at ‘reported currency’ rates the full fiscal year revenues grew by six per cent to $3.08 billion, while profit after tax grew considerably to $331 million from just $3 million a year earlier.
“The increase comes on the back of a robust data traffic growth of 73 per cent and Airtel Money throughput by 22 per cent on a YoY basis. We continue to invest towards enhancing customer experience through a high speed LTE network. To this end, the year saw an overall capex spend of $630 million. That capex was far greater than the $411 million of the previous year,’’ Mandava added.
Though it has decided to enter London Stock Exchange with its endless preparation for Airtel Africa’s Initial Public Offering (IPO), it is equally scheming to raise $750 million from the issue of new shares. The operator intends to use the proceeds from the IPO to reduce net debt before taking final decision to hit the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Recall that more than one year ago, Bharti Airtel announced plan to list its African business with selected bookrunners in September. It plans to raise $1.25 billion in a pre-IPO with six investors in October.
Additional details of the latest result showed that Bharti Airtel consolidated total revenue was down 2.2 per cent YoY on an underlying basis to 807.8 billion Indian rupees ($11.7 billion).