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Airtel Africa profit more than doubles in first report since IPO

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By Reuters
Airtel Africa profit more than doubles in first report since IPO
FILE PHOTO: The logo of telecommunications company Airtel is pictured on an umbrella that was set up by vendors in Abuja, Nigeria July 9, 2019. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde   -   Copyright  Afolabi Sotunde(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Airtel Africa Plc <AAF.L> reported a quarterly pretax profit on Friday that more than doubled, as the telecoms company signed up more customers for its mobile and data services and was boosted by double-digit growth in Nigeria and East Africa.

The company, which debuted on the London Stock Exchange last month, is backed by investors including SoftBank Group Corp <9984.T>, Warburg Pincus and Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd. It operates in a region that has a large untapped market, while its European peers have been suffering.

Airtel Africa, a unit of India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd <BRTI.NS>, said pretax profit for the first quarter ended June 30 rose to $167.4 million ( £134.5 million ) from $80.2 million a year earlier.

“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,” Chief Executive Officer Raghunath Mandava said in a statement.

Total revenue rose 6.9% to $795.9 million in the three months, boosted by a 9.3% rise in the company’s customer base to 99.7 million despite a hit from currency translation.

Airtel Africa said devaluation of the Zambian Kwacha, Malawian Kwacha and Central African Franc largely drove a $23 million hit to revenue in the quarter.

Up to Thursday’s close, the company’s London-listed shares had risen 3% since debut.

The company’s shares also made their Nigerian debut with a flotation in Lagos earlier this month.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Gopakumar Warrier)