Airtel Africa’s annual profit drops, dividend up 9%

Airtel Africa Plc has reported a decrease of 0.6 percent in its net profit for the financial year ended March 31, 2023, compared to the previous year.

“Profit after tax was $750m, a decrease of only $5m, after including a higher foreign exchange and derivative losses of $245 million,” it said on Thursday in an earnings release.

The telecommunications company, however, saw its revenue rise by 11 percent to $5.26 billion.

“Total customer base grew by 9.0% to 140.0 million, as the penetration of mobile data and mobile money services continued to rise, driving a 16.9 percent increase in data customers to 54.6 million and a 20.4 percent increase in mobile money customers to 31.5 million,” it said.

Airtel said while each segment’s reported currency revenue growth was impacted by currency devaluation, they all delivered double-digit constant currency revenue growth. 

The company’s board has recommended a final dividend of 3.27 cents per share, making the total dividend for the financial year 2023 5.45 cents per share, an increase of 9 percent in line with its progressive dividend policy.

 “Over the last year, the operating environment has been challenging in many ways, yet our strategic focus on providing reliable, affordable and accessible services across our markets has enabled us to sustain our top-line growth momentum,” the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Olusegun Ogunsanya, said. 

He said that over the year, the company invested $500 million on additional spectrum, including 5G, across many of its operating companies, “which, combined with our capex, will underpin our growth ambitions.”

He said, “Despite this investment, and driven by a disciplined capital allocation policy, our balance sheet remains strong and has been further de-risked over the last year by the prepayment of $450 million HoldCo debt in July last year. 

“Currencies across our footprint have been under pressure, and the impact from the revaluation of our foreign currency denominated liabilities provided some headwinds in the last financial year. While currency devaluation is not in our control, we have plans to continue to mitigate its impact by growing our revenues at a faster pace than devaluation, with double-digit revenue growth in reported currency delivered this year and as we continue to reduce our foreign currency exposure across our balance sheet.”

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