Airtel Africa Q4 profit dips 13 per cent

PTI New Delhi | Updated on May 13, 2020 Published on May 13, 2020

File photo   -  REUTERS

Says mid-term opportunity unchanged, despite rising volatility

Airtel Africa on Wednesday posted 13 per cent drop in net profit for March quarter at $77 million (nearly Rs 581 crore) and said it would be difficult to precisely forecast the impact of Covid-19 on customers and business, since the spread of coronavirus in Africa has lagged the rest of the world.

The company, in a statement, however emphasised that it is entering “this period of increased volatility” on a strong financial footing and its view on the medium-term opportunities across its footprint has not changed, as markets will continue to benefit from strong population growth and need for increased connectivity and financial inclusion.

Airtel Africa’s net profit for the just ended quarter came in at $ 77 million, 12.8 per cent lower compared to the year-ago period when seen on reported currency basis and 6.2 per cent lower in constant currency terms.

The difference between reported currency and constant currency growth rates is due to currency movements with reference to the US dollar rate.

Profit attributable to parent company shareholders stood at $ 65 million (over Rs 489 crore), almost 22 per cent lower than the year-ago period.

The revenue for March-quarter which included income from voice, data, mobile money, and other revenue was 15.1 per cent higher (almost 18 per cent higher in constant currency terms) year-on-year at $ 899 million (over Rs 6,700 crore).

The company noted that more recently, the markets where it operates have begun to be impacted by Covid-19 and the related actions that governments have implemented to reduce the risk of the contagion. The company’s priority in such times has been to keep employees, suppliers and customers safe while supporting communities.

Raghunath Mandava, chief executive officer of Airtel Africa said, “Telecoms businesses provide strategically essential services to ensure the functioning of economies and communities and are, therefore, more resilient compared to some other sectors”.

In Africa, the spread of the Covid-19 has lagged the rest of the world and, therefore, it is difficult to precisely forecast what the impact of this will be on customers and business, he added.

“However, our performance during the month of April has been resilient as the business continued to deliver constant currency revenue growth, although at a lower rate,” he said.

The company enters this period of increased volatility in a strong financial position and its view on the medium-term opportunities across its footprint has not changed, as these markets will continue to benefit from strong population growth and the need for increased connectivity and financial inclusion, he added.

For the year ended March 2020, profit after tax stood at $ 408 million (Rs 3,076 crore), 4.4 per cent lower than the previous year. The revenue at $ 3,422 million (Rs 25,767 crore) for FY20 was 11.2 per cent higher than last year.

Its customer base was up 11.9 per cent to 110.6 million.

“These results also demonstrate the strength and resilience of our business and the effectiveness of our strategy — with all three business services, voice, data and mobile money, contributing to revenue growth.

“We have also continued to invest in future growth opportunities as we expanded our distribution, modernised and expanded our network with 65 per cent of sites now on 4G, acquired new spectrum in Nigeria, Tanzania, Malawi and Chad, and entered into strategic partnerships in our mobile money business,” Mandava said.

Published on May 13, 2020

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