Airtel Africa reported a net profit of $523 million during nine months ended December 2022, up 1.7 per cent, as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) growth was partially offset by higher foreign exchange and derivative losses of $184 million. The telco’s revenue in reported currency grew by 12.1 per cent to $3,914 million with Q3 growth of 10.7 per cent. Revenue growth in constant currency was 17.3 per cent (18.0 per cent in Q3) driven by double-digit growth across all reporting segments. Mobile services revenue in Nigeria grew by 20.9 per cent, in East Africa by 11.9 per cent and in Francophone Africa by 11.8 per cent (and across the Group by 15.9 per cent, with voice revenue growth of 12.7 per cent and data revenue up 22.3 per cent). Mobile money revenue grew by 29.8 per cent, driven by 32.5 per cent growth in East Africa and 21.7 per cent in Francophone Africa. 

Further, Airtel Africa’s EBITDA was $1,916 million, up 12.6 per cent in reported currency and 17.4 per cent in constant currency, with an EBITDA margin of 49.0 per cent, increasing 20 basis points in reported currency and broadly flat in constant currency. Earnings per share (EPS) before exceptional items was 10.8 cents, a reduction of 5.8 per cent largely driven by higher foreign exchange and derivative losses of $184 million. Basic EPS increased to 12.5 cents (up by 6.3 per cent) as a result of deferred tax asset recognition in Kenya. EPS before exceptional items and excluding foreign exchange and derivative losses increased by 21.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, the company’s total customer base increased to $138.5 million (up 10.1 per cent), as the penetration of mobile data and mobile money services continued to rise, driving the data customer base up 13.6 per cent and mobile money customer base up 22.2 per cent. Average revenue per user (ARPU) growth stood at 7.2 per cent in constant currency, largely driven by increased usage across voice, data, and mobile money. Mobile money transaction value increased by 37.0 per cent, to an annualised value of almost $100 billion in Q3. Capex increased 5.8 per cent to $457 million as the telco continues to invest for future growth. Additionally, the company acquired spectrum in Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Zambia and Kenya over the nine-month period.

Commenting on the results, Segun Ogunsanya, chief executive officer, Airtel Africa, said, “Providing affordable, innovative and essential services to customers in our 14 markets with unparalleled network quality and customer service is integral to our ambition of transforming lives across Africa. These strong results are testament to this strategy despite the current macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties. The execution of our six-pillar strategy continues to provide the foundation for growth, driving 10 per cent customer growth, supported by 14 per cent growth in data customers and over 22 per cent growth in mobile money customers. Higher usage across voice, data and money, have contributed to further ARPU growth of over 7 per cent, resulting in 18 per cent revenue growth in the quarter as penetration across each segment continues to increase. I am particularly excited by the performance of our mobile money business, with annualised transaction value reaching nearly $100 billion, as we continue to drive financial inclusion in the continent. Despite the inflationary pressures across our markets, the strong revenue performance in the first nine months of the year, combined with continued focus on cost optimisation, contributed to EBITDA growth of over 17 per cent in constant currency, with stable EBITDA margins. Our strong operating performance, combined with continued focus on our capital allocation priorities has facilitated the de-risking of our balance sheet with the early repayment of $450 million HoldCo debt in July this year. We will continue to invest in expanding our network and evolving our service offerings to further deepen both financial and digital inclusion across our markets. We have especially focussed on enhancing our spectrum footprint across all our markets. Over the last nine months we have spent almost $490 million on 4G and 5G spectrum across key markets to improve network capacity and quality, future-proof the company for continued growth opportunities and facilitate economic progress in all our markets. I am particularly pleased with these results which demonstrate the opportunities these markets offer, our ability to deliver against these opportunities and the contribution we make to local communities and economies across our footprint. For the remainder of the financial year. we continue to anticipate sustained growth in the business with continued EBITDA margin resilience.”