Home NewsBusiness News Airtel Africa repays $550m bond

Airtel Africa repays $550m bond

by Ikenna Ngere
Sunil Taldar - Airtel CEO

Telecommunications and mobile money services provider, Airtel Africa, has revealed that its subsidiary, Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) B.V., has repaid in full its $550m bond maturing Monday.

This was disclosed in a corporate filing with the Nigerian Exchange Limited signed by Group Company Secretary, Simon O’Hara on Monday.

With this repayment, the company said that it had achieved a zero-debt position at the HoldCo.

The $550m bond was 5.35 per cent Guaranteed Senior Notes.

“This bond repayment of $550m has been made exclusively out of cash reserves at the holding company and is a continuation of its strategy to reduce external foreign currency debt. At the time of the IPO in June 2019, the group had $2,719m of external debt at HoldCo which resulted in significant exposure to currency fluctuations and the reliance on upstreaming funds to cover both interest costs and the principal repayment.

“Through consistent execution of its strategy supporting strong free cash flow generation, and continued upstreaming success, the group has been reducing Holdco debt over the past few years and has now reached the significant milestone of a zero-debt position at HoldCo. The current leverage and capital structure is a reflection of the Group’s successful capital allocation strategy that has been in place since our IPO, and it will aim to continue reducing foreign currency debt obligations across its OpCo’s,” part of the statement from the telecoms provider said.

Meanwhile, Airtel Africa suffered a $89m loss after tax, primarily due to significant foreign exchange headwinds, resulting in a $549m loss net of tax following the devaluation of the naira in June 2023 and the Malawian kwacha devaluation in November 2023.

The company remarked, “The after-effects of the CBN announcement continued to impact the exchange rate materially during January 2024, when the Nigerian naira to the US dollar moved to 1,414 per USD, which was also above the threshold percentage as per the group’s exceptional item policy.

“Over February and March 2024, the Nigerian naira to US dollar moved back to close at 1,303 per USD, which was, in effect, a partial reversal of the losses seen in January 2024. This resulted in a material impact on the group’s financial results, arising from the translation of monetary items at closing exchange rates, leading to material derivatives and foreign exchange losses. During the year, the devaluation of Nigerian naira has resulted in derivative and foreign exchange losses of $1.07m.”

Despite the loss, Airtel’s board proposed a final dividend of $3.27 per share for the year ending March 2024.

SOURCE: PUNCHNG

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