Airtel Africa, a telecommunications and mobile money provider in 14 countries in East Africa and Central and West Africa, Net Earnings more than doubled to US$142Million, up 148.7%, for the first quarter ended June 30th 2021.
East Africa delivered a substantial revenue increase of 29.5%, with voice revenue increasing by 27.8%, data revenue was up 25.3%, and mobile money revenue edged up by a massive 62.4%.
Strong Revenue growth in Airtel Africa was offset partially by currency devaluations in Malawi and Zambia and the appreciation of the Uganda currency.
Revenue growth for Q1, 2022 was driven by weakened performance in Q1, 2020 during the peak period of Covid19 related restrictions across the region.
Voice revenue was up 27.8% due to growth in the customer base and voice average revenue per user of 13.6% and 13.8%, respectively.
Airtel Africa Customer Base, Data Revenue and Mobile Money Revenue
The telco’s customer base growth was driven mainly by the expansion of its distribution and network coverage.
Data revenue increased 25.3% due to growth in data customer base of 23.2% and data ARPU increase of 2%.
Airtel’s customer base increase growth was supported by the expansion of Airtel’s 4G network. An estimated 80% of Airtel sites are now on 4G in East Africa, compared with 68% during Q1, 2020.
Mobile money revenue grew by 62.4% due to solid performance in Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Uganda.
Mobile money revenues made up 23.2% of total revenue in Q1 2021-an increase of 4.2% from 19.0% in the prior period.
Underlying EBITDA margin was 46.6%, an improvement of 425 basis points in reported currency and 414 basis points in constant currency, led by accelerated growth in revenue and efficiency improvements in operating expenses.
Capital expenditure was US$33Million, up 70.6% from the prior period due to planned network expansion.
Operating free cash flow was US$151Million, up 41.2% due to the growth in underlying EBITDA
Strong revenue growth was made in Nigeria(38.2%), East Africa(32.8%) and Francophone Africa( 24.9%); and across critical services, with revenues for voice up 26.0%, data up 37.4% and mobile money up 53.7%.
Operating profit was US$352Million, up 67.6% in reported currency and 73.9% in constant currency.
Operating cash flow (underlying EBITDA less Capex) was US$428Million, up 38.7%.
Customer numbers increased 8.4% to 120.8 Million, with increased penetration across mobile data and mobile cash services.
The slowdown in customer numbers is attributed to new SIM registration rules in Nigeria.
“We have posted strong double-digit growth across voice (26.0%), data (37.4%) and mobile money (53.7%), and across all our regions,” said Raghunath Mandava, Airtel Africa Chief Executive Officer.
He said Sub-Saharan Africa is now experiencing a third wave of the pandemic. Governments are implementing balanced measures of lockdowns and restrictions. But vaccinations levels remain very low.
“In these challenging times our business model has so far proven resilient, but we continue to monitor the situation closely for the potential impact on local economies and consumers,” said Mandava.
He said Airtel Africa’s total customer base has returned to growth with acceleration in its East Africa and Francophone regions despite continuing negative net additions in Nigeria.
With the easing of these restrictions in late April, Airtel Africa has since been able to gradually increase activations in line with regulatory compliance across Nigeria, adding new customers.
“Our continued focus is on modernisation and rollout of our network, along with simplifying our products and improving our distribution,” said Mandava.
He said Airtel Africa continues to see massive potential across voice, data and mobile money due to the low penetration levels in Africa.
Airtel Africa plc results for the quarter one period ended June 30th 2021, are unaudited.