Bharti Airtel-owned Airtel Africa’s net profit attributable to owners rose 29.3% q-o-q to $172 million in the October-December quarter owing to fall in finance cost sequentially and higher revenues.
The company’s revenue from operation rose 3.2% q-o-q to $1.35 billion in the December quarter due to increase in consumer base, increase in voice and data consumption. On a year-on-year basis, both the company’s net profit and revenue rose 11% each.
During the quarter, the company added 3.8 million subscribers, taking its total base to 138.5 million. Further, owing to increased usage across voice, data and mobile money, Airtel Africa’s average revenue per user (Arpu) rose 2.1% sequentially and 5.8% y-o-y to $3.1.
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“The execution of our six-pillar strategy continues to provide the foundation for growth, driving 10% customer growth, supported by a 14% growth in data customers and over a 22% growth in mobile money customers. I am particularly excited by the performance of our mobile money business, with annualised transaction value reaching nearly $100 billion, as we continue to drive financial inclusion in the continent,” said Segun Ogunsanya, chief executive officer.
The company’s revenue from the voice business rose 4.9% q-o-q to $646 million, whereas its data revenue rose 1.8% q-o-q to $454 million. The mobile money business rose 6.8% q-o-q to $189 million.
During the quarter, Airtel Africa’s Ebitda margins were flat at 49%. On a y-o-y basis, the margins contracted by 60 basis points from 49.6% owing to a 32% y-o-y increase in finance cost. Sequentially, the finance cost fell 22% to $161 million.
“Despite the inflationary pressures across our markets, the strong revenue performance in the first nine months of the year, combined with continued focus on cost optimisation, contributed to the Ebitda growth of over 17% in constant currency, with stable Ebitda margins,” Ogunsanya said.
As of December end, the company’s net debt was at $3.62 billion, an increase of 10% from the preceding quarter. “Our strong operating performance, combined with continued focus on our capital allocation priorities has facilitated the de-risking of our balance sheet with the early repayment of $450-million debt in the holding company (holdco) in July,” he added.
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The remaining debt at the holdco is now $550 million, falling due in May 2024, the company said.
In the last nine months, the company has spent almost $490 million on 4G and 5G spectrum across key markets. Airtel Africa was listed on the London Stock Exchange in June 2019.