Airtel Africa, the holding company for Bharti Airtel’s operations in Africa, has released its financial report for the year ended March 31, 2021. One of the report highlights is that the company’s revenues are up by 14.2% to $3.8 billion.

On the back of this revenue, Airtel Africa also posted net profits of $415 million, a slight growth of 1.8% from the previous year where it made $408 million in profits after tax. 

Despite the flat profit growth, it is still an impressive result for the business in a year where Covid-19 has stalled economic growth across Africa. Additionally, in Nigeria, the company’s biggest market, a ban on SIM card registration stifled growth. 

Airtel Africa’s CEO, Raghunath Mandava, said in a statement, “In these challenging times, I want to say a huge thank you to all our employees, our business partners, and governments and regulators who have supported us, and in turn facilitated our continued support to the economies and communities we serve.

Our performance has been strong, “with reported growth of 13.6% in underlying revenue and 18.3% in underlying EBITDA, and constant currency growth of 19.4% and 25.2%, respectively. Contributions to this growth came across all regions, with particular improvement in Francophone Africa, and across all our major services, with mobile money, data and voice each posting double-digit revenue growth.”

A look at the company’s significant services shows that voice revenue continues to lead the way, bringing in more than half its revenue. Yet, that does not tell the whole story, as the growth in voice revenue has slowed over the last few years. 

Data and mobile money revenue are the real stars of the show. Data contributed 35% to the revenue as it continues to show promise as Airtel deepens its investment in internet infrastructure. 

“Data usage per customer reached 2.6 GB per customer (from 1.8 GB per customer) led by an increase in smartphone penetration and expansion of our home broadband and enterprise customers. This helped us grow data revenue 31.2% in constant currency. Growing penetration and usage of 3G and 4G data customers helped us grow data ARPU 8.2%. 4G data usage more than doubled in the year, contributing 62.2% of total data usage on the network in Q4’21.”

Airtel Money is also seeing significant growth, adding $401 million to revenue compared to the $311 million it added last year. According to Airtel, “We have increased the number of mobile money agents by 30.7%, kiosks by 68.8% and mobile money branches by 95%. Throughout the year, the expansion of our mobile money product portfolio, both through partnerships with leading financial institutions and through expansion of our merchant ecosystem, have further strengthened our mobile money propositions.” 

Another important update from the report is a leadership change at Airtel Africa as Mandava will retire from his post and as a director on 30 September. Olusegun Ogunsanya will take over as the new managing director and CEO.

Olumuyiwa Olowogboyega | Author

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