Airtel Reaffirms African Commitment
Refuting reports suggesting that the leading telecommunications Company is looking to exit the continent, its Africa CEO, Raghunath Mandava has outlined a concerted and sustainable investment plan for the future
Airtel Africa, a leading telecommunications Company with operations in 15 countries across Africa, has refuted speculative media reports erroneously stating its possible exit from Africa. The organisation has reaffirmed that it remains committed to Africa and will continue to invest in its operations to grow sustainably in Africa.
Airtel Africa’s recent 3rd quarter results were strong. The underlying Africa revenues for the quarter accelerated by six percent year-on-year, its highest over the past nine quarters. The organisation’s efforts to improve the quality of customer acquisitions have resulted in a reduction in customer churn to 4.9 percent from six percent. Data consumption and revenues have grown by 91 percent and 24 percent year-on-year respectively, led by stronger data networks. The strong focus on cost management has led to a significant underlying EBITDA margin expansion of 4.5 percent year-on-year, which now stands at 24.5 percent. Africa is now generating positive free cash and is PBT positive in constant currency.
Raghunath Mandava, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa, says: “All the steps taken recently with regard to human resources and infrastructure have been geared towards readying the organisation to grow efficiently and sustainably in the medium to long-term. The Company remains committed to competing in various markets and providing more choice to customers through further investments to ensure consistent delivery of quality and value for money services to our customers. We are also accelerating our investments in new data networks and to modernise our existing networks. We are committed to launching 4G in multiple countries.”
He adds: “Mergers and acquisitions continue to be the norm for any multinational organisation and they affect all global organisations in equal measures as and when they happen. As a strategy, we look for opportunities to acquire or merge in opcos that are operating in a fragmented market structure with too many players in a small market. Last year, Airtel and Orange reached a mutually beneficial agreement on the assets in Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso. Similarly, Airtel also acquired assets in Uganda, Congo and Kenya in recent times.
“The agreements brought together the strengths of Airtel, Warid, and Essar. This has offered benefits to customers in the form of a superior and wider network, affordable voice/data services and better customer care. Away from Africa, recently, we merged with Robi in Bangladesh to create a solid and profitable number two player in the market.”
The recent results demonstrate the effectiveness of Airtel’s business strategy in Africa. The organisation sees an opportunity ahead to emerge with a broader reach and sharper execution.