Airtel Africa plc (LON:AAF) have today provided final results for the year ended 31 March 2020.
· Customer base up by 11.9% to 110.6 million
· Revenue increased by 11.2% to $3,422m, with Q4 revenue growth up 15.1%
· Revenue in constant currency grew by 13.8% in the full year and 17.9% in Q4. Growth recorded across all business segments, with voice revenue up by 5.2%, data by 39% and mobile money by 37.2%
· Underlying EBITDA up 13.8% to $1,515m, with underlying EBITDA growth in constant currency at 16.3%
· Reported underlying EBITDA margin improved to 44.3% by 100 bps (up 94 bps in constant currency)
· Operating profit grew by 22.8% to $901m and increased by 25.4% in constant currency
· Free cash flow was $453m, more than double compared to the same period last year
· Earnings per share (EPS) before exceptional items was $7.3 cents and basic EPS was $10.3 cents, a decrease of $9.2 cents
· Net debt to underlying EBITDA was 2.1x, compared to 3.0x in March 2019
· The Board recommended a final dividend of $3 cents per share, to a total dividend of $6 cents per share
Raghunath Mandava, Airtel Africa chief executive officer, on the trading update:
“These are a strong set of results which delivered against our aspirations set out at the time of the IPO, with performance sequentially improving during the year. Revenue increased by 11.2%, 13.8% in constant currency, and underlying EBITDA by 13.8%, 16.3% in constant currency, to a reported $1,515m, underpinned by significant improvement in our Free cash flow generation and reduced leverage. 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% of sites now on 4G, acquired new spectrum in Nigeria, Tanzania, Malawi and Chad, and entered into strategic partnerships in our mobile money business.
More recently, the markets where we operate have begun to be impacted by the COVID-19 and the related actions that governments have implemented to reduce the risk of contagion. Our priority has been to keep our colleagues, suppliers and customers safe whilst supporting the communities in which we operate. 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. 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.
We enter this period of increased volatility in a strong financial position and our view on the medium-term opportunities across our footprint has not changed, as these markets will continue to benefit from strong population growth and the need for increased connectivity and financial inclusion.
Finally, I would like to thank wholeheartedly our employees and partners, without whom none of this would be possible.”