Airtel Africa, has revealed its plans to buy back shares worth $100 million, an adventure it will be starting from early March 2024, which would last for a 12-month period.
The Telecommunication giant, said it consistent strong operating performance, current leverage, has spurred it Board to launch the share buy-back programme of the said worth.
This is coming at the hill of growing it customer based in Nigeria to 151.2 million, whilst it currency growth also reached an appreciable 21.0%, Airtel Africa revealed in its recent report.
According to the report cited by our correspondent, Airtel has sustained it operating momentum despite continued foreign challenges, growing it total customer base by 9.1% to 151.2 million.
Again, Airtel’s penetration of mobile data and mobile money services continued to rise, driving a 22.4% increase in data customers to 62.7 million and a 19.5% increase in mobile money customers to 37.5 million respectively.
It has also experience constant currency ARPU growth of 10.0%, which was primarily driven by increased usage across all segments.
The mobile money transaction value increased by 41.3% in constant currency, with Q3’24 annualized transaction value of $116bn in reported currency.
On the Financial front, it revenue grew in constant currency by 20.2%, with Q3’24 growth accelerating to 21.0%. However, the reported currency revenues declined by 1.4% to $3,861m.
In Q3’24, reported currency revenues declined by 8.3% as currency devaluation (primarily the Nigerian Naira devaluation) continued to impact reported revenue trends.
Progressively, all segments continued to deliver double-digit constant currency growth. Across the Group mobile services for instance, revenue grew by 18.6% in constant currency, driven by voice revenue growth of 11.2% and data revenue growth of 28.5%. Mobile money revenue grew by 31.8% in constant currency.
Furthermore, its constant currency EBITDA increased 21.9%, with Q3’24 EBITDA growing 23.3%. The EBITDA margin of 49.4% increased 72bps over the prior period despite foreign exchange headwinds and inflationary pressure.
Reported currency EBITDA declined by 0.4% to $1,908m, with Q3’24 EBITDA 8.3% lower as currency headwinds continued to impact reported trends.
But a keen look at the profit after tax was $2m in the period covered by the report. Although, primarily impacted by significant foreign exchange headwinds, particularly the $330m exceptional loss after tax following the devaluation of the Nigerian naira in June 2023 and the Malawian kwacha in November 2023 after the structural changes in their respective FX markets.
It should be noted that the Nigerian Naira devalued further in Q3’24, resulting in a $140m derivative and foreign exchange losses net of tax, which is not treated as an exceptional item. EPS before exceptional items was 7.1 cents, a decline of 34.6%. Basic EPS at negative (1.6 cents) compares to 12.5 cents in the prior period, impacted by the significant derivative and foreign exchange losses as explained above.
Commenting on the progress made and future expectations on the trading update, Olusegun Ogunsanya, the Group chief executive officer, noted that the sustained positive growth experienced thus far can be attributed to focus and execution of growth strategy.
His words; “We remain focused on the execution of our growth strategy and, combined with our strong operational execution, this has ensured that we continue to see sustained, positive growth momentum across the business, despite the inflationary and currency headwinds.
He however, noted that the demand remains resilient, highlighting the vital nature of the voice, data and mobile money services Airtel is providing to customers across the region.
This has resulted in a strong 20.2% constant currency revenue growth over the period, with an increase in EBITDA margins.
Olusegun, revealed that although currency devaluation weighed down the reported financial performance, it will not affect the growth execution plan.
“This strong operating performance has limited the impact that currency movements have had on the Group. In this regard, whilst further currency devaluation, particularly in Nigeria, has weighed on our reported financial performance, it will not affect the execution of our growth plans.”
Airtel Africa is a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, with a presence in 14 countries in Africa, primarily in East Africa and Central and West Africa.
It offers an integrated suite of telecoms solutions to its subscribers, including mobile voice and data services as well as mobile money services, both nationally and internationally, aiming to continue providing a simple and intuitive customer experience through streamlined customer journeys.