Airtel Africa has reported a good start to the year, with constant currency revenue growth of 13 per cent despite impact from Covid-19 on the global telecom space.
It reported a rise in profit and revenue as it grew its customer base 11.8 per cent in the first quarter of its fiscal year to 111.5 million. Operating profit increased by 12.9 per cent to $210 million and revenue increased by 6.9 per cent to $851 million on-year.
Underlying EBITDA increased by 7.9 per cent to $375 million, with constant currency growth of14.6 per cent. Free cash flow was $96 million compared to $62 million in the same period last year. Earnings per share (EPS) before exceptional items was $1.0 cents and basic EPS was $1.1 cents.
Raghunath Mandava, chief executive officer, on the trading update: “During last quarter our business was impacted by the Covid-19pandemic, as restrictions on movements of people and ways of socializing were introduced to contain the spread of infection.
“In these unprecedented times, we have worked with governments, regulators, partners, and suppliers to keep customers and businesses connected as well as supporting the economies and communities. We focused on expanding and maintaining our network to ensure it could cope with increasing demand, we kept our distribution up and running by increasing the penetration of digital recharges and stock levels, and we expanded our home broadband solutions to ensure customers could work and access entertainment remotely.
“Covid-19 impacted customer usage pattern, particularly during the month of April, however, as some of these restrictions started to be lifted, customer usage trends in May and June returned to being broadly consistent with pre Covid-19 trends. The Group’s performance generally reflected these trends, with revenue growth accelerating in May, and we ended the quarter with 13 per cent revenue growth and 61bps of EBITDA margin expansion in constant currency.
“The business showed its resilience even during these unprecedented circumstances with all key business segments-voice, data and mobile money, and all regions-Nigeria, East Africa and Francophone Africa contributing to growth.
“During the quarter we also increased our support of the communities where we operate by providing financial support towards essential workers, free data for educational purposes and we worked together with governments to temporarily waive fees on certain mobile money transactions.
We also created an exciting partnership with UNICEF to provide children with access to remote learning and enable access to cash assistance for their families via mobile cash transfers. The outlook remains uncertain, particularly regarding a so called potential second wave of infections and the actions governments will decide to take in that event.
“However, these results are further evidence of the growth opportunities our markets offer and the effectiveness of our strategy to focus on winning customers, investing in our network and expanding our voice, data and mobile money businesses.”
MTN Named Most Valuable Brand In Africa As Value Hits $3.3bn
MTN Group has been named the most valuable African brand in the Brand Finance Africa 150 2020 ranking, which ascribes a brand value of $3.3 billion to MTN.
Brand value is the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. In its survey, Brand Finance said: “Over the last year, Africa’s largest mobile operator has celebrated solid profits and impressive subscriber growth.”
The survey assessed the impact of COVID-19 on the enterprise value of all brands in its survey, compared to their values on 1 January 2020. It categorised the telecoms sector as ‘limited impact’, which it said meant “minimal brand value loss or potential brand value growth”. This was due to the increasingly important role that mobile operators have played in keeping people connected in the time of the pandemic.
In July, Brand Finance named MTN Group the most valuable South African brand, a result of the group’s focus on improving the customer experience for subscribers, as well as uniting 19 000 employees around a shared belief, which is that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life.
African Business Heroes: Jack Ma Foundation to Host Media Roundtable for 2020 Top 10 Finalists
The Jack Ma Foundation will host an online media roundtable discussion and Q&A to allow accredited journalists exclusive access to the Top 10 Finalists of 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes(ABH) prize, ahead of the grand finale in November.
The 2020 ABH prize competition is a flagship philanthropic program created by the Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative(ANPI)to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs regardless of age, gender and sector, who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future of the continent.
Speakers at the event which will hold on Wednesday, 21st October 2020 include the Top 10 finalists, Jack Ma Foundation’s representative and the competition’s semi-finale judges.
In invited journalists should are to register here to receive Zoom log in details for theirattendance:https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TOg8uJocSv2MVkS_TCYO4wDetails:Meet the ten finalists of the Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition, the flagship programme of the Jack Ma Foundation.
This exclusive virtual event is an opportunity to hear directly from the ABH 2020 finalists on their journey in the competition so far, their businesses, and how they are working to solve the most pressing problems in their respective countries.
Learn more about the ABH competition and the drive behind Jack Ma Foundation’s passion to inspire, train and support entrepreneurs in Africa. The 10 entrepreneursrepresenting 8 African countries (including Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda and Zimbabwe)have been selected from over 22,000 applications across all 54 African nations. Their businesses span key industries across Africa including agriculture, fashion, education, healthcare, renewable energy, financial services, and retail. On November 13 and14at the competition’s finale, theywill pitch the finale judges including Jack Ma, Founder of the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Group; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group; Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group; and Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of the Alibaba Group, for a chance to win their share of the US$1.5 million prize pool.
Airtel Selects Ericsson to Modernize its 4G Network in Kenya
Airtel Africa is expanding its strategic partnership with Ericsson to enable 4G coverage in Kenya. With Ericsson’s Radio Access Network (RAN) and packet core products for 4G, Airtel subscribers will experience enhanced quality of voice and data.
The network modernization deal, signed in August 2020, is in line with the Kenyan Digital Economy Blueprint Vision 2030 which aims to provide robust connectivity in rural areas and facilitate e-commerce platforms. The modernization deal will drive the simplification and upgrade of the existing network and future-proof it for the anticipated rapid mobile expansion in the country.
With Ericsson Radio System and Packet Core solutions, Airtel Kenya’s network will have 4G coverage, while driving enhanced use cases in both the consumer and the enterprise segments. Ericsson technology shall make the network in Kenya ready for 5G deployment.
Prasanta Das Sarma, CEO at Airtel Kenya says: “Robust and secure communications are an essential component of a digital society in Kenya. We are firmly anchored to the strategy of delivering reliable connections across the country and are looking forward to expanding the high-quality mobile broadband services to our subscribers.”
Fadi Pharaon, President of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says: “Together with Airtel, we will implement this project that aims to establish an advanced LTE network in Kenya, providing Airtel’s customers an enriched experience – both in the consumer and business segments. Through this partnership, we reaffirm our ambition to set #AfricaInMotion by partnering with Airtel to grow and support an increasingly digitalized society in Kenya.”
Furthermore, Ericsson will deploy its Kathrein Mobile Communication Antenna portfolio which will help provide additional enhancement to the network’s robustness whilst Ericsson’s technologically advanced network management system, Ericsson Network Manager will be utilized to support Airtel in managing the network seamlessly by integrating various network elements on single platform.
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