Airtel plans mobile money business roll-out in Nigeria

AIRTEL office used to illustrate the story. [PHOTO CREDIT: Stackpreneur]
AIRTEL office used to illustrate the story. [PHOTO CREDIT: Stackpreneur]

Airtel Africa has said it will soon roll out its mobile money business in Nigeria.

Its Chief Executive Officer, Raghunath Mandava, said this as highlights of its operations show growth across the company’s business products.

The telecommunications and mobile money service provider, with presence in 14 countries across East, Central and West Africa, said it also plans to list its shares on the London Stock Exchange.

At the moment, Mr Mandava said the company is working towards securing approval of a brand name and obtaining a license for the mobile payment service.

“I am pleased to report a strong start to the financial year,” the CEO disclosed in the company’s quarterly results for the first quarter of this year ended June 30, 2019.

“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,” he said.

Mr Mandava said the company’s results are clear evidence of the effectiveness of the company’s strategy.

He said the company’s performance in the latest report showed revenue grew by about 6.9 percent, from $744.5million to $795.9million. Also, the company’s customer base rose by 9.3 percent to about 99.7million.

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The growth in revenue was attributed to the double-digits growth across business products in Nigeria and East Africa.

Details showed a constant increase in Voice revenue by 3.2 percent, data revenue 35.9 percent, and Mobile Money revenue 41.8 percent.

He said the company continued the aggressive investment in its 4G network infrastructure, with nearly 1,500 additional sites across its operational locations.

On plans to officially list Airtel’s ordinary shares on the London Stock Exchange, Mr Mandava said arrangements had reached an advanced stage.

In a statement filed with the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Wednesday, the CEO said already eight global commercial banks, including JP Morgan, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, have been appointed to work on the company’s initial public offer plan.

He said the primary proceeds from the IPO are expected to be used by the company to reduce its external debt stock.

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The listing on the London market will follow the successful pricing of its IPO on the Nigerian Stock Exchange at about 80 pence (about N363) per share on June 28.

The offer comprised about 744,047,619 new Shares (being the total of 704,819,651 new shares in respect of the global offer to institutional investors in various jurisdictions outside Nigeria.

Another 39,227,968 new shares were offered to qualified institutional investors and high net worth investors in Nigeria, valued at about £595 million (about N270 billion, or $750 million).

Among the Nigerian investors in the telecoms firm is Awuneba Ajumogobia, who is listed as its only Nigerian shareholder and independent non-Executive Director.

Mrs Ajumogobia, a Chartered Accountant and former director of UAC of Nigeria Plc, was appointed on April 1 this year as one of the company’s 19 directors.

The offer on the NSE represented approximately 19 percent of the company’s issued share capital immediately following UK and Nigerian Admission (including the over-allotment option).

Unconditional trading of the Airtel Africa shares commenced on the LSE on July 3, and later on the NSE on July 9 this year.

A voting rights document filed with the NSE showed that as at August 6, the company has 50,000 non-voting redeemable deferred shares of £1 each and 3,081,744,577 non-voting deferred shares of $0.50 in issue.

The telecoms firms said in its annual audited financial statement filed with the NSE on Wednesday that it recorded a profit after tax of about $2.45 million from its operations during the year.

Mr Mandava, who signed the statement, said in a strategic report that accompanied the financial statement that its profit before tax stood at about $3.1 million.

In its profit and loss account for the period July 12, 2018 and March 31, 2019, Mr Mandavu said the company did not declare any dividend for its investors.

As of March 31, 2019, about 68.31 percent shareholding of the company was held by Airtel Africa Mauritius Limited (AAML) and about 31.69 percent by private equity investors.

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