May 13, 2020 / 7:27 AM / 20 days ago

UPDATE 1-Airtel Africa sales rise as more customers sign up for phone services

(Adds details on results, CEO’s comment on COVID-19 impact)

May 13 (Reuters) - Telecoms company Airtel Africa Plc on Wednesday posted revenue and profit growth for the full year, as more customers signed up for its mobile and data services, and on stronger activity in its biggest market Nigeria.

The Africa-focused company went public last year with a London listing and has benefited from a steady demand in emerging markets, while some of its European peers have been teaming-up to navigate challenges posed by saturated markets.

Revenue for the year-ended March rose 11.2% to $3.42 billion, boosted by a 24.1% rise in revenue from Nigeria. The country accounts for 40% of the company's overall revenue. (reut.rs/3ctCsO8)

Airtel Africa’s data services, which reported a 36.1% sales growth, have been benefiting from increased traffic as consumers seek entertainment during the current stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, the company said.

“In Africa, the spread of COVID-19 has lagged the rest of the world and, therefore, it is difficult to precisely forecast what the impact of this will be on customers and business. However, our performance during the month of April has been resilient,” Chief Executive Officer Raghunath Mandava said.

Annual pretax profit jumped 71.7% to $598 million at Airtel Africa, a unit of India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Rashmi Aich)

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