Millicom achieved revenues of US$1.53 billion in the first quarter of 2016, spurred by double digit growth in all but one of its African markets, while Latin American growth dwindled.
In Africa, Millicom saw organic revenue growth of 11.9 per cent to US$220 million, with service revenue growing 12.1 per cent. All its operations in Africa, with the exception of Rwanda, reported double digit growth in Q1. The operator put its African successes down to “actions to improve [...] profitability”, and pointed in particular to accelerated growth in Ghana - at 12 per cent -, and a recovery in Chad-based operations.
In Latin America, the company reported sluggish organic revenue growth of 0.7 per cent to US$1,308 million, which it blamed on lower handset sales. Service revenue grew 2.9 per cent in the region as data continued to grow strongly, however this was partially offset by competition on mobile pricing, and slower fixed B2B activity in Colombia. The Easter holiday also impacted the region. On the other hand, Millicom said there were also highlights in Q1 in the Latin American region, which an LTE launch in Paraguay, and DTH launch in Colombia.
“We are squarely focused on improving operational leverage and delivering profitable and responsible growth [...] This quarter has seen a continuation of the macro headwinds which we forecast earlier in the year and this economic environment has continued to significantly impact our headline performance. However, it is pleasing to see greater resilience and performance improvements in our revenue mix, both by geography and by business unit,” said Mauricio Ramos, chief executive officer (CEO) of Millicom.
In Millicom’s mobile business, growth was driven by data uptake, with the company saying it remains committed to its commercial strategy to optimise investments in 4G. Ramos said Millicom’s cable business is performing well, and the company continues with the expansion of its HFC footprint, adding 132,000 homes passed, 31,000 new homes connected and 117,000 RGUs.
Fixed B2B revenue saw a 7.3 per cent increase, although this was slower than in Q4 - largely due to slow results in Colombia. Nonetheless, Ramos said the company sees this as “a very promising sector”, and opened new data centres in Paraguay, Tanzania, Ghana and Chad with additional ones planned in Colombia and Senegal.
“This will allow us to expand our services to more business customers and to further leverage the Tigo network,” he said.