Barely a month after listing on the floor of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) Airtel Africa Plc, has reported a growth of 6.9 percent, with constant currency growth of 10.2 percent in its first quarter result ending June 30, 2019. According to the financial statements, revenue grew from $744.5 Million in 2018 to $795.9 Million in the period under consideration. Just as customer base grew by 9.3 percent to 99.7 million.
The revenue growth of 10.2 percent in constant currency was driven by double-digit growth in Nigeria and East Africa, partially offset by a decline in revenue in rest of Africa. Growth was recorded across business products. This was the 6th consecutive quarter of double-digit constant currency growth.
Other highlights of the result shows that constant currency revenue in Voice increased by 3.2 percent, data revenue increased by 35.9 percent and Mobile Money revenue grew by 41.8 percent. Reported underlying EBITDA was $ 347.6 Mn, up 9.7 percent, while constant currency underlying EBITDA growth was 12.8 percent.
Underlying EBITDA margin in reported currency was 43.7 percent, an increase of 111 bps, while there was an increase of 101 bps in constant currency terms. Free cash flow was $ 102.4 Mn, down 29.2 percent largely as a result of increased capex for network modernization and rollout of additional sites. EPS before exceptional items was $ 2.0 cents, down 46.8 percent largely as a result of an increase in the number of shares. Basic EPS was 4.1 cents.
Profit after tax was $ 132.2 Mn, a decrease of 12.2 percent compared to the prior year, as growth in operating profit was partially offset by higher finance costs and lower gains on exceptional items. Basic EPS was $ 4.1 cents, down 62.2 percent, largely as a result of an increase in the number of shares issued to pre-IPO investors.
Commenting on the result, Raghunath Mandava, Chief Executive Officer, “I am pleased to report a strong start to the financial year, in our first quarterly results since the IPO. These results, which are in line with our expectations, are clear evidence of the effectiveness of our strategy across Voice, Data and Mobile Money. In the quarter, we delivered a 10% increase in revenue in constant currency terms, with even higher underlying EBITDA growth largely as a result of operating leverage and a tight focus on costs which led to underlying EBITDA margin expansion of 101bps”.
“Voice revenue, our largest business product, was up 3% largely driven by 9% growth in our customer base, now reaching nearly 100 Mn customers across our footprint. Data revenue, our largest contributor to growth, was up 36% as an increasing number of customers relied on our high-quality and high-speed LTE network, resulting in a 79% growth in data usage. Mobile Money revenue, our fastest growing business, increased by 42% as we expanded our distribution reach”.
“We continued to invest in our 4G network, adding nearly 1,500 sites; now more than half of our sites are 4G. We also continue to prepare for the launch of our Mobile Money business in Nigeria, securing approval of the brand name, an important step as we await approval for our payment service bank license. The business continues to show momentum and we are confident of delivering sustained growth across Voice, Data and Mobile Money, underpinning our medium term aspirations for revenue and profit growth.”
On June 28, 2019, Airtel Africa announced the successful pricing of its Initial Public Offering at 80 pence (NGN363) per share. The Offer comprised 744,047,619 new Shares being the total of 704,819,651 new Shares in respect of the global offer to institutional investors in various jurisdictions outside of Nigeria and 39,227,968 new Shares in respect of the offer to qualified institutional investors and high net worth investors in Nigeria.
Equating to a total offer size of approximately £595 million (NGN 270 billion, or $750 million) and representing approximately 19 per cent, of the Company’s issued share capital immediately following UK Admission and Nigerian Admission including the over-allotment option. Unconditional trading of the Shares commenced on the London Stock Exchange on 3 July 2019 and commenced on the Nigerian Stock Exchange on 9 July 2019.