Airtel Denies Exit Report

Airtel Africa, a leading telecommunications company with operations in 15 countries across Africa, has described as speculative media reports stating its possible exit from Africa.

According to the organisation, it remains committed to Africa and will continue to invest in its operations to grow sustainably in Africa.

In a press statement issued and signed by Michael Okwiri, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Airtel Africa, the company noted: “Airtel Africa’s recent 3rd quarter results were strong. The underlying Africa revenues for the quarter accelerated by 6.0 percent Y-o-Y, the highest over the last 9 quarters. The organization’s efforts to improve the quality of customer acquisitions have resulted in a reduction in customer churn to 4.9 percent from 6.0 per cent. Data consumption and revenues have grown by 91.0 percent & 24.0 percent 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 percent Y-o-Y, 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 (CEO), Airtel Africa, 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 launching 4 G in multiple countries.”

He added that “mergers and acquisitions continue to be the norm for any multinational organization and they affect all global organizations in equal measures as and when they happen. As a strategy, we look for opportunities to acquire or merge 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, Congo Brazzaville 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.”

The recent results demonstrate the effectiveness of Airtel’s business strategy in Africa.

The organization sees an opportunity ahead to emerge with a broader reach and sharper execution.

A business desk report