Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Investment

Airtel Africa gains customers despite COVID-19 challenges

Article Image
Airtel Africa has managed to record decent growth in customers and revenue in the quarter ended June 30, 2020, despite challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic in its operations on the continent.

The pan-African group saw its customer base across its 14 operations grow by 11.8%, to 111.5 million, and quarterly revenue was up 6.9% year-on-year (YoY) to $851 million, or 13% on a constant currency basis. However, it saw a major drop in quarterly profit after tax, which fell 56.9% YoY to $57 million.

Airtel Africa CEO Raghunath Mandava said that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted customer usage patterns, particularly during April. But as some restrictions started to be lifted, customer usage trends in May and June returned to being broadly consistent with pre-COVID-19 trends.

"We focussed on expanding and maintaining our network to ensure it could cope with increasing demand, we kept our distribution up and running by increasing the penetration of digital recharges and stock levels, and we expanded our home broadband solutions to ensure customers could work and access entertainment remotely," Mandava said in a statement.

He added that the business showed its resilience in the face of the unprecedented crisis, "with all key business segments – voice, data and mobile money, and all regions – Nigeria, East Africa and Francophone Africa contributing to growth."

Airtel Africa CEO Raghunath Mandava
Airtel Africa CEO Raghunath Mandava

The group operates in 14 countries and divides its business as East Africa (Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia); Francophone Africa (Niger, Chad, Gabon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Madagascar and the Seychelles); and Nigeria is reported on its own.

Revenue growth was recorded across all the regions with Nigeria growing by 8.9%, East Africa increasing 10.1% and Francophone Africa up just 0.4%. However, group average revenue per user (ARPU) declined 3.8% to $2.6 million from $2.7 million a year ago. Overall the operator saw voice revenue in Africa decline by 3.2% YoY in the quarter, while data revenue shot up by 28% and mobile money revenue increased 20%.

Customer acquisitions were however not a problem in the quarter. The Nigerian customer base grew 13.5% YoY to 42.5 million and Nigerian data customers increased by 18.5% to 17.3 million. East Africa also saw overall customers grow 13.3% to 48.8 million, with 14 million data customers, an over 25% improvement from a year ago. In Francophone Africa, customer additions were more muted at 5.4%, totaling 20.2 million at the end of June. Data customers grew 34.7% to make up over a quarter of overall users in the Francophone region.

Group operating profit increased by 12.9% to $210 million and underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased by 7.9% to $375 million. But basic earnings per share were down by 72.8% to 1.1 US cents, "due to an increase in shares issued."

"The outlook remains uncertain, particularly regarding a so called potential second wave of infections and the actions governments will decide to take in that event," Mandava said. "However, these results are further evidence of the growth opportunities our markets offer and the effectiveness of our strategy to focus on winning customers, investing in our network and expanding our voice, data and mobile money businesses."

Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Video

Interview: Juliet Ehimuan on Africa's next wave of innovation

Juliet Ehimuan, founder and CEO of Beyond Limits Africa and ex-MD of Google West Africa, spoke to Connecting Africa about the next wave of innovation in Africa and the continent's digital future.

Story

InDrive enters Zimbabwe's Bulawayo

Ride-sharing platform InDrive is expanding its services to Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo after successfully introducing its services in the capital of Harare in May this year.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Sponsored video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

Story

Challenges and opportunities for women's tech careers

A new survey reveals that COVID-19, the cost-of-living crisis, skills shortages and a lack of mentorship have negatively affected women's career development over the past two years.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Upcoming events

Nextv Series Africa
October 4-5, 2023
Hotel Sky Sandton, Johannesburg
Africa Tech Festival, Home of AfricaCom and AfricaTech
November 13-16, 2023
CTICC, Cape Town
More Upcoming events

Flash poll

All polls

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: August 2023

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in August 2023 in the Middle East and Africa included a commercial 5G launch from Ethio Telecom and the signing of a virtual wheeling agreement between Vodacom South Africa and Eskom – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

Story

Omdia View: February 2023

By Omdia Analysts

In February 2023 key events in the Middle East and Africa included a major Internet project for Africa's underserved by Liquid Intelligent Technologies and Microsoft as well as a 5G launch in Tanzania – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up
Tag id I-0000192