Monday October 21, 2019
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Bharti Airtel’s Africa Posts Net Profit of $83 mn on Net and Payment Biz Growth

Airtel Money posted a revenue of $70 million in Q4 as compared to $38 million in the previous quarter

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There will be zero subscription charge for Airtel users with unlimited streaming and downloads, the company said. Wikimedia

Bharti Airtel’s Africa subsidiary has posted a net profit of $83 million (around Rs 581 crore at Rs 70 a dollar exchange) for the March-end quarter, compared with a net loss of $49 million a year ago, boosted by a surge in data consumption and a rise in the volume of transaction value on the Airtel Money platform.

But the net income has fallen substantially and sequentially from $123 million in the December quarter.

The Sunil Mittal company said this was due to an exceptional loss of $7 million, “mainly on account network modernisation across various OPCOs (operating companies),” the quarterly earnings report of the company said.

The total revenue for Airtel Africa rose 6 per cent on-year to $781 million, though it fell from $783 million sequentially.

The net income and revenue both have fallen sequentially. Airtel Africa is in the process of a public listing on the London Stock Exchange around June this year in order to raise $1.5-$1.6 billion.

The net debt of the Africa operations has fallen to $4,004 million from $7,755 million a year ago period and marginally from $4,189 million in the December quarter.

“Data usage per customer during the quarter was at 1,375 MBs as compared to 963 MBs in the corresponding quarter last year, an increase of 42.7 per cent,” the company said, adding that data customers increased by 5.1 million on year to 30 million, representing 30.4 per cent of the total customer base, as compared to 27.9 per cent in the year-ago quarter.

Bharti Airtel’s office.

The total minutes on the network during the just-ended quarter grew 18.3 per cent to 52.9 billion.

The company said that its Airtel Money customer base increased 24 per cent annually to 14.2 million and the total transaction value on Airtel Money platform increased by 22 per cent to $6.9 billion.

Airtel Money posted a revenue of $70 million in Q4 as compared to $38 million in the previous quarter.

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Airtel Africa serves 99 million customers in 14 countries. Its Ebidta rose 16 per cent on-year (earnings before interest tax, depreciation & amortisation) at $354 million. On-year Ebitda margin also expanded from 42 per cent in the fiscal third quarter to 43.8 per cent in the fiscal fourth quarter.

But average revenue per user (ARPU) – a key performance metric – dropped 3.1 per cent on-year and 3.4 per cent sequentially – to $2.7. Voice ARPU also fell 3.5 per cent on quarter and 7.2 per cent on year, but data ARPU rose 2.8 per cent and 6.8 per cent sequentially and on-year wise.

Airtel’s Africa unit has already raised $1.45 billion through pre-IPO placements to the likes of Qatar Investment Authority, Warburg Pincus, Temasek, Singtel and SoftBank Group International, to reduce its net debt. (IANS)

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Tanzania Refuses to Provide Detailed Information on Ebola Cases

Tanzania is refusing to provide detailed information on suspected Ebola cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, a rare public rebuke as the region struggles to contain an outbreak declared a global health emergency

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A child is vaccinated against Ebola in Beni, Democratic Republic of the Congo, July 13, 2019. VOA

Tanzania is refusing to provide detailed information on suspected Ebola cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, a rare public rebuke as the region struggles to contain an outbreak declared a global health emergency.

Transparency and speed are key to combating the deadly hemorrhagic fever because the disease can spread rapidly. Contacts of any potentially infected person must be quarantined and the public warned to step up precautions like hand washing.

WHO said in a statement released late Saturday that it was made aware Sept. 10 of the death of a patient in Dar es Salaam, and unofficially told the next day that the person tested positive for Ebola. The woman had died Sept. 8.

“Identified contacts of the deceased were unofficially reported to be quarantined in various sites in the country,” the statement said.

Unofficial information

WHO said it was unofficially told that Tanzania had two other possible Ebola cases. One had tested negative and there was no information on the other one.

tanzania, africa, ebola, WHO
Dar es Salaam and Morogoro, Tanzania map. VOA

Officially, the Tanzanian government said last weekend it had no confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola. The government did not address the death of the woman directly and did not provide any further information.

Despite several requests, “clinical data, results of the investigations, possible contacts and potential laboratory tests performed … have not been communicated to WHO,” the U.N. health agency said. “The limited available official information from Tanzanian authorities represents a challenge.”

Authorities in east and central Africa have been on high alert for possible spill-overs of Ebola from the Democratic Republic of Congo where a year-long outbreak has killed more than 2,000 people.

Last week the U.S. health secretary, Alex Azar criticized Tanzania for its failure to share information on the possible outbreak. The next day he dispatched a senior U.S. health official to Tanzania.

Quick response works

Uganda, which neighbors Congo, has recorded several cases after sick patients crossed the border. A quick government response there prevented the disease from spreading.

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WHO said it was unofficially told that Tanzania had two other possible Ebola cases. One had tested negative and there was no information on the other one. Pixabay

The 34-year-old woman who died in Dar es Salaam had traveled to Uganda, according to a leaked internal WHO document circulated earlier this month. She showed signs of Ebola including headache, fever, rash, bloody diarrhea Aug. 10 and died Sept. 8.

Tanzania is heavily reliant on tourism and an outbreak of Ebola would likely lead to a dip in visitor numbers.

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The WHO statement is not the first time international organizations have queried information from the government of President John Magufuli, nicknamed The Bulldozer for his pugnacious ruling style.

Earlier this year both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund contradicted the government’s economic growth figure for 2018. (VOA)