Airtel Africa has reported a net profit Sh43.5 billion ($408 million) in the year to March 2020 for its business in Africa, a 4.4pc drop compared to Sh45.5 billion ($426 million) in 2019.
The company’s Eastern Africa operations, however, posted a 9pc revenue growth for the year ending March 31, largely spread across all its services.
The growth was because of currency devaluation in Zambia and Kenya. All countries, with the exception of Rwanda, delivered double-digit revenue growth. The telco noted that its performance in Kenya, as well as other East African markets, posted a marked improvement towards the end of the financial year, a pointer that its gain in market share is now paying off.
The performance between January and March was largely affected by an increase in voice and data customers in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda which grew 6.2pc to $606 million (Sh64.56 billion). “Performance improved in fourth quarter of 2020 (ending March) largely as a result of an increase in voice and data customers in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya,” said the company.
Data revenue also grew by 20.3pc due to a 22pc growth in data customers to Sh32.7 billion. “There was growth in all countries underpinned by the rollout of more than 2,400 of 4G sites, a 2.9 percentage point increase in smartphone penetration, and simple and affordable products,” the firm said in its official statement.
The firm has been grappling with delays in approval of a planned merger with Telkom Kenya, which it set in motion in February last year after the two telcos signed an agreement. The planned merger had received approval from the Competition Authority of Kenya but still requires approval from the Communications Authority of Kenya.
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