AIRTEL Networks Zambia Plc has posted reduced net profits of only K15.7 million during its 2019 financial year period compared to over K64 million in the prior corresponding period in 2018, partly triggered by the kwacha’s depreciation in the second half of last year.

In a statement announcing the company’s audited financial results for the year ending December 31, 2019, Airtel stated that its profits dwindled to K15.7 million last year from K64.86 million earned in 2018 on account of the kwacha’s depreciation against major currency convertibles, translating to a 75.7 per cent decline.

The local currency breached the K15 per dollar psychological barrier last December from commencing trading at the start of 2019 at K11.96 per dollar on January 2.

“Profit after tax down by 75.73 per cent year-on-year to ZMW15.74mn, mainly because of kwacha devaluation,” Airtel stated.

Its gross revenues did, however, climb 10 per cent to around K2.2 billion last year, up from K1.96 billion earned in 2018.

And company data shows that from the total number of mobile phone subscribers of 15.5 million, representing a penetration rate of around 85 per cent, Airtel’s has around 5.84 million subscribers on their network.

Airtel Networks Zambia is part of the Bharti Airtel Group and is the largest mobile phone operator in Zambia, by revenue, with a customer base of 5.84 million as at December 31, 2019.

Since commencing operations in December, 1998, Airtel has extended its network across the country and now provides coverage in all of Zambia’s districts.