Airtel Africa, the continental group of Bharti Airtel, has refuted claims in sections of the media that it is exiting the market.
According to the company, it will continue to invest in its operations to grow effectively on the continent.
A statement issued by the group headquarterered in Kenya and copied to citifmonline.com on Monday [January 30], said the reports were erroneous.
Reports in a section of the Ghanaian media suggested the company was exiting 15 countries in Africa including Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya and Congo, selling them to a rival telco company, Orange.
But according to the company, its third quarter results were strong, and it sees an opportunity within the continent to emerge with a broader reach and sharper execution.
“The underlying Africa revenues for the quarter accelerated by 6.0 per cent Y-o-Y, the highest over the last 9 quarters. The organizations efforts to improve the quality of customer acquisitions have resulted in a reduction in customer churn to 4.9 per cent from 6.0 per cent.”
“Data consumption and revenues have grown by 91.0 per cent & 24.0 per cent Y-o-Y respectively, led by stronger data networks. The strong focus on cost management has led to a significant underlying EBITDA margin expansion of 4.5 per cent Y-o-Y, which now stands at 24.5 per cent. Africa is now generating positive free cash and is PBT positive in constant currency.”
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa, Raghunath Mandava, said’ “All the steps taken recently with regard to human resources and infrastructure have been geared towards readying the organization 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 modernize our existing networks. We are committed to launch 4 G in multiple countries,” he said.
He said mergers and acquisitions are normal for multinational organizations and Airtel looks forward to the opportunity to acquire or merge with in operating companies 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, CongoB 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 No.2 player in the market,” he added.
By: Jonas Nyabor/citifmonline.com/Ghana