Shares of Airtel Africa, the holding firm for Bharti Airtel’s operations in Africa, made a lacklustre debut on the London Stock Exchange on Friday. The stock dropped as much as 15% in early trade, hitting a low of 67.5 pence. The company had earlier set the price of the share at 80 pence, keeping it at the bottom of its range.
According to experts, Airtel Africa’s latest financials do not show any red flags, and chances are that the poor debut has more to do with market conditions in the UK rather than company specific concerns. Other market listings in the UK also have had a torrid time this year, with European IPO volumes at their lowest level year-to-date since 2012. To be sure, here’s a look at Airtel Africa’s financial performance in 2018-19:
— Airtel Africa has operations in 14 countries across the African continent, with a customer base of around 99 million.
— Nigeria alone accounts for half of its Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) and 40% of its total revenue.
— Airtel Africa reported its first full-year profit of $412 million in 2018-19. The company had posted a loss of $138 million in 2017-18.
— Airtel Africa’s revenue increased by 5.73% to $3,077 million in 2018-19 from $2,910 million a year ago.
— The telco’s data customers in Africa grew by 5.1 million to 30 million by the end of the year.
— The total MBs (megabytes) on the network grew by 65.3% to 392.6 billion MBs compared with 237.5 billion MBs in 2017-18.
— Airtel Money revenue grew by close to 60% to $243.3 million in FY19 as compared with $152.4 million in FY18.
— Airtel Africa capital expenditure during the year was $630 million, mainly to enhance data capacities and network modernisation.
— Airtel Africa, however, saw its average revenue per user (Arpu) falling 3.1% year-on-year to $2.7 in the fourth quarter from $2.8 a year earlier.