Mobile money was a key driver of revenue growth for Airtel Africa’s first year-end results since its IPO in July 2019.
The operator group saw revenue from its Airtel Money offering leap 33% year-on-year to reach $311 million, while revenue from data services also surged to $930 million, a year-on-year increase of 36%.
For the fiscal year leading up to the end of March 2020, Airtel Africa’s overall business revenue reached $3.4 billion, an increase of 11%. A one-off tax settlement to the Nigerian authorities – which was pushed into this fiscal year - put a dent in its net profit, which was down 4.4% to $408 million. Had the payment not been deferred, profit for this fiscal would have increased by 17%.
Airtel Africa CEO Raghunath Mandava said that the results put the company in a good position to weather the “increased volatility” that will ensue as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“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,” said Mandava. “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.”
With Africa’s efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus well underway, Airtel Africa has implemented measures to ease the financial burden on users. These have included boosting data limits and scrapping transaction fees on some of its mobile money services.
Airtel Africa is present in 14 African markets, and plans to expand Airtel Money across its footprint as well as boosting the service’s offering. In addition to increasing its retail presence, Airtel plans to introduce services such as international transfers, loans, and savings.
The operator has set out its strategy for growth in its markets, noting that unique user penetration across its footprint is around 45% - a relatively low level upon which it aims to capitalise. Airtel Africa is investing in developing and upgrading its infrastructure to be 4G-capable, claiming that currently 65% of its sites are 4G-ready.
Additionally, in the 12 months leading up to 31st March 2020, the group launched 4G services in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Niger and Tanzania – meaning that customers in all of its 14 markets can now access 4G services. The operator has also invested significantly in fibre, deploying 8000km across Africa over the past year.