Airtel Africa a revenue growth of $2.272 billion (or 25.2%) for the first half of 2022 as well as double digit growth across all its subsidiaries in the continent. During the second quarter of the year, Airtel realised a revenue growth of 20.3% while the firm’s revenue in constant currency grew by 27.6%.
According to the firm’s financial results, the telco had a strong double-digit constant currency revenue growth across all regions – with Nigeria growing by 32.4%, East Africa by 25.8% and Francophone Africa by 22.1%. The growth was also spread across all key service areas, with Voice rising by 19.7%, Data by 36.9% and Mobile Money by 42.0%.
Underlying EBITDA grew by 35.2% to $1.098 million in reported currency and underlying EBITDA margin improved to 48.3%, an increase of 360 basis points led by both revenue growth and improved operational efficiencies.
The Operating profit by 55.1% to stand at $732 million in the period under review. The firm’s profit after tax more than doubled to stand at $335 million, largely due to higher profit before tax which more than offset the associated increase in tax charges.
The firm’s operating free cash flow was $853 million, an increase of 43.1%, with the firm stating that over the last 18 months, it had streamed more than $570 million across its subsidiaries.
The telco’s customer base grew by 5.4% to stand at 122.7 million, with increased penetration being noted across mobile data (where the customer base was up by 10.9%) and mobile money services (with customer base growing by 19.0%). Customer base growth was affected by the new NIN/SIM registration regulations in Nigeria (excluding Nigeria, the overall customer base grew by 13.7% in other subsidiaries).
The Airtel Africa board has declared an interim dividend of 2 cents per share (1.5 cents in the first half of 2021) in line with an upgraded dividend policy. The new policy aims to grow the dividend annually by a mid to high-single digit percentage from a new base of 5 cents per share for FY 2022, with a continued focus to further strengthen the balance sheet.
Segun Ogunsanya, the Airtel Africa CEO, said: “Our first half financial performance has been strong. The first half of last year, and especially the first quarter, was impacted by the start of COVID, but even after adjusting for these effects, our revenue growth rates for the half year for the Group and all our service segments are ahead of our FY’21 revenue growth trends, and in reported terms these are all in strong double digits.
The risks from COVID still remain, with sub-Saharan Africa continuing to experience a third wave of the pandemic. Governments continue to implement balanced measures of lockdowns and restrictions accordingly. But vaccination levels remain low, and we continue to monitor the situation for potential impacts on economies and consumers.”
He added: “Operationally, we have continued our network modernization and expansion, aligned with an extension of our distribution capabilities, which have together contributed towards continued strong growth in ARPUs across voice, data and mobile money. We have seen an improvement in our customer growth trends for the Group as we approach stability of net monthly movements in Nigeria.”
Along with its financial results, Airtel Africa also launched its sustainability strategy which focuses on transforming lives across Africa through promotion of both digital and financial inclusion.
“As incoming Group CEO, I have inherited the responsibility to build upon a business with solid foundations and as I look ahead, I continue to see huge potential across voice, data and mobile money from low penetration levels across Africa. The continent continues to be a growth story for us despite the pandemic. We will continue to invest in mobile and digital technologies to drive digital and financial inclusion sustainably in Africa. I am pleased with the progress we have made in the last couple of years on delivering value to everyone touched by our network,” said the Airtel Africa CEO in a statement.