Airtel Africa released its financial results for the 9 months’ period ended Dec 2020 on Friday and held a conference call with analysts to provide more color on the numbers.
MoneyCentral listened in on the call which was headlined by Raghunath Mandava, chief executive officer, Airtel Africa and brings some highlights.
Revenues for the telecommunications firm increased by 13.8 percent to $2.870bn, underlying Earnings Before Interest Taxes Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) for the period was $1.29bn, up 16 percent in reported currency while constant currency underlying EBITDA growth was 22.5 percent.
Underlying EBITDA margin for the nine months was 45.5 percent, up by 118 basis points (bps) and free cash flow was $466m, up 20 percent compared to the same period last year.
Key points from conference call
- Airtel has connected 21 million of its subscribers on its network that have sent in their National Identification Numbers (NIN), but is having connectivity issues with the NIMC database for verification of the data and is waiting for the verification to be done.
- Airtel will be looking to localize more of its debts to give it a natural FX hedge in all countries of operations. Short term this may lead to a higher cost of debt but longer term the upside from reducing devaluation induced FX losses should balance out costs.
- Airtel will spend approximately 40 percent of its projected 2021 capex (Capital Expenditure) of $640 million in Nigeria.
- Shortage of foreign exchange (FX) is affecting repatriation of dividends in Nigeria as a backlog began to build post March 2020. Before then there were no issues regarding FX availability. As oil prices recover and covid-19 vaccines get rolled out Airtel believes there will be stabilization in FX availability in the coming quarters.
- About 9 percent of operating expenses (OPEX) re dollar denominated in Nigeria and as such devaluation has some impact on costs.
- Airtel is looking to build 15,000 kilometers of new fibre broadband infrastructure in Nigeria this year as part of capex.