Airtel Africa has bought back 8.6 million ordinary shares from Citigroup Global Markets Limited as part of a share buyback plan that began in February 2024. 

The second largest mobile network operator in Nigeria said the programme’s primary objective was to reduce share capital which in turn cuts down Airtel’s debt obligations and cost of operations which has grown in recent times. 

Segun Ogunsanya, CEO of Airtel Africa, claims Airtel’s businesses have generated significant cash hence the decision of the board to launch a share buy-back programme. 

“The board believes that repurchasing its shares is an attractive use of its capital in light of the Group’s strong long-term growth outlook,” said Segun Ogunsanya, CEO of Airtel Africa. 

The buy-back programme kicked off on March 1, 2024, and involves the repurchase of $100 million worth of the company’s shares in 12 months. 

The programme is divided into two tranches with the first tranche worth $50 million running for a period of 7 months – from March to August 2024.

The latest transaction between Airtel and Citigroup involves the repurchase of 487,985 ordinary shares at a weighted average price of £103.94 ($131.70) per share. 

Airtel Africa has struggled to stay profitable due to macroeconomic challenges in Nigeria, its largest market on the continent. The company’s financial statement showed revenue dropped by 21.96% to $1.24 billion in December 2023, from $1.59 billion due to the fall of the naira affecting Airtel’s conversion rates. Airtel recently took steps to reduce its high operating costs like outsourcing most of its tower operations to IHS Towers. The buy-back programme also helps the company reduce its debt obligations as it seeks other ways to maintain profitability. 

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