Airtel Networks Zambia Plc which is part of the Bharti Airtel group and is the largest mobile phone operator in Zambia, by revenue, with a customer base of more than 6.7 million as at 31 December 2020 has now reported its year end financial performance, according to a SENS announcement.
Since commencing operations in December 1998, Airtel Networks Zambia Plc has extended its network across the country and now provides coverage in all the 117 districts of Zambia. The total numbers of mobile telephone subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2020 was estimated to be at 19 million despite the current Covid-19 pandemic which has negatively affected several companies in the sector.
Airtel Zambia has continued to expand its investments in Zambia resulting in significant growth in its key operating indicators. For instance, the total revenue increased by 20.61% in 2020 representing ZMW2,598 million as compared to ZMW 2,154 million recorded in 2019. Moreover, the operating profit went up by 7.36 % (ZMW 719 million) in the year under review as compared to ZMW670 million in 2019 mainly as a result of the strong performance on revenue, and management’s consistent optimization of the operating expenses in view of the harsh economic environment.
However, on account of the weakening of the Zambian Kwacha against the US Dollar by 52%, the company was adverse impacted by exchange losses amounting to ZMW (768) million. This resulted in the company incurring a net loss of ZMW (341) million in 2020. In order to mitigate this loss the company intends to work on increased fund hedging and debt restructuring to ensure sustainable cash flows to settle the company’s financial obligations as they fall due.
Other performance information indicates that the earnings per share ratio in 2020 significantly decreased to (3.27) as compared to 0.15 in 2019 indicating a decline in the company’s profitability. Despite the challenging macro-economic outlook on the continued depreciation of the local currency and escalating inflation., Airtel Zambia intends to continue providing market leading innovative, world class products and services spurred by continued investment in the Network and distribution infrastructure.