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Airtel Buys Back 991,861 Shares from Citigroup to Reduce Capital

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Airtel Africa, the telecommunications giant, has successfully repurchased 991,861 of its shares, valued at $0.50 each, from Citigroup Global Markets on the London Stock Exchange. This move is part of the company’s $100 million share buyback program, initiated in March 2024.

The transaction, which occurred on both Friday and Monday, represented the first tranche of the buyback program, expected to conclude on or before August 2024 with a maximum value of $50 million.

Airtel Africa clarified that the primary objective of the buyback program is to reduce the company’s capital, leading to the cancellation of all shares acquired during the process. Since the inception of the program, the company has acquired 991,861 ordinary shares at an average price of £97.07 per unit.

Despite the success in the financial market, Airtel Africa reported a 99.6% decline in post-tax profit, reaching $2 million for the nine months ending December 2023. The company attributed this decline to significant foreign exchange challenges, particularly the $330 million exceptional loss after the devaluation of the Nigerian naira in June 2023 and the Malawian kwacha in November 2023.

The company recorded additional losses due to further devaluation of the naira. Speaking on that, the firm said:

“The Nigerian naira devalued further in Q3 ’24, resulting in a $140m derivative and foreign exchange losses net of tax, which is not treated as an exceptional item.

Despite these challenges, Airtel Africa’s nine-month revenue showed a modest 1.4% moderation, amounting to $3.86 billion compared to $3.91 billion in December 2022. The company remains optimistic about its strategic financial decisions and ongoing efforts to navigate currency fluctuations.

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