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Airtel Africa profit slumps 57%

irtel Africa Plc on Friday reported a 57 per cent slump in profit after tax in the quarter ended June 30, 2020 on the back of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The African unit of the Indian-based telecom company reported $57m profit after tax as against $132m in the corresponding period of 2019.

The company attributed the decline in its after-tax profit to foreign exchange loss of $19.4m in finance cost and higher tax payments.

The telco reported a revenue growth of 6.9 per cent, with constant currency growth of 13 per cent but was partially offset by currency devaluation, mainly in Nigeria (6.9 per cent), Zambia (28.3 per cent) and Kenya (4.4 per cent).

Commenting on the report, the Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa, Raghunath Mandava, said the business was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as restrictions on movements of people and ways of socialising were introduced to contain the spread of the infection affected consumer behaviour.

“COVID-19 impacted customer usage pattern, particularly during the month of April, however, as some of these restrictions started to be lifted, customer usage trends in May and June returned to being broadly consistent with pre-COVID-19 trends.”

In Nigeria, revenue in constant currency increased by 17.1 per cent, with a reported revenue growth of 8.9 per cent as a result of naira devaluation.

The company said restriction on movements imposed as a result of the pandemic impacted customer usage, particularly in voice services.

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