July 26, 2019 / 6:29 AM / 2 months ago

Airtel Africa profit more than doubles in first report since IPO

FILE PHOTO: The logo of telecommunications company Airtel is pictured on a street in Abuja, Nigeria July 9, 2019. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo

(Reuters) - Airtel Africa Plc (AAF.L) reported a quarterly pretax profit on Friday that more than doubled, as the telecoms company signed up more customers for its mobile and data services and was boosted by double-digit growth in Nigeria and East Africa.

The company, which debuted on the London Stock Exchange last month, is backed by investors including SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T), Warburg Pincus and Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd. It operates in a region that has a large untapped market, while its European peers have been suffering.

Airtel Africa, a unit of India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd (BRTI.NS), said pretax profit for the first quarter ended June 30 rose to $167.4 million from $80.2 million a year earlier.

“The business continues to show momentum and we are confident of delivering sustained growth across voice, data and mobile money, underpinning our medium-term aspirations for revenue and profit growth,” Chief Executive Officer Raghunath Mandava said in a statement.

Total revenue rose 6.9% to $795.9 million in the three months, boosted by a 9.3% rise in the company’s customer base to 99.7 million despite a hit from currency translation.

Airtel Africa said devaluation of the Zambian Kwacha, Malawian Kwacha and Central African Franc largely drove a $23 million hit to revenue in the quarter.

Up to Thursday’s close, the company’s London-listed shares had risen 3% since debut.

The company’s shares also made their Nigerian debut with a flotation in Lagos earlier this month.

Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Gopakumar Warrier

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