H1 2020: Airtel Africa reports $145m profit after tax, declares $1.55¢ interim dividend

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By Kayode Tokede

Airtel Africa Plc has reported $145million profit after tax half year (H1) results for period ended September 30, 2020.

This is 36.6per cent decline compared to $228million reported in H1 ended September 30, 2019.

The telecommunication company reported about 11 per cent increase in revenue to $1.82billion in H12020 as against $1.64billion while profit before tax also dropped by 11.1 per cent to $281million  as against $316million reported in H1 2019.

The company in its results to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), reported customer base that gained by 12per cent to 116.4 million.

According to the company, “revenue growth in constant currency was 16.4 per cent in H1, and 19.6 per cent in Q2. Growth was recorded across all regions: Nigeria up 20.2 per cent, East Africa up 21.9 per cent and Francophone Africa up 4.4 per cent, and services, with voice revenue up by 7.0 per cent, data by 33.4 per cent and mobile money by 30.4 per cent.”

The board of Airtel Africa declared an interim dividend of $1.5¢ (one and a half cents of the US dollar) per share in line with the new progressive dividend policy to focus on growth opportunities and faster deleveraging.

The company explained that the new policy aims to grow the dividend annually by a mid to high-single digit percentage from a base of $4 cents per share for financial year.

The chief executive officer, Airtel Africa , Raghunath Mandava in a statement said, “The first half of our fiscal year included the peak impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the countries where we operate, as lockdown measures were swiftly implemented to stem the initial spread of contagion.

“In these unprecedented times, the telecoms industry has emerged as a key and essential service for these economies, allowing customers to work remotely, reduce their travels, keep them connected and allow access to affordable entertainment. In these exceptional circumstances, in the first half, we delivered a strong set of results and as lockdown restrictions eased during Q2 our performance continued to improve with constant currency revenue growth of 19.6 per cent, up 6.6 per cent from the prior quarter.

“Importantly, the fundamentals of our business remain strong and revenue growth further benefitted from the execution of our strategy with a specific focus on expanding distribution in the rural areas, investing in our network and increasing 4G coverage, as well as benefitting from the fact that we provide an essential service to consumers.

“In Q2, performance in our mobile money business also significantly improved with constant currency revenue growth of 33.9 per cent, up eight per cent from prior quarter, as lockdown restrictions were eased and fees on certain transactions, which had been previously waived, were largely reintroduced.

“We also continued to enter new partnerships with leading institutions such as WorldRemit, MoneyGram, Standard Chartered Bank, and Mukuru to increase use cases and improve customers’ access to digital payments and financial services.

“We remain alert to the potential for further disruptions from a second wave of COVID-19 across Africa, and the associated actions of governments to minimise contagion.

“Nevertheless, we are in a strong financial position to capture the opportunities in a fast-growing region that is vastly underpenetrated in terms of mobile and banking services.

“We remain confident of delivering long term sustained growth for our shareholders.”