IHS Holding Limited Ordinary Shares

Q1 2023 Earnings Conference Call


spk02: Good day and welcome to the IHS Holdings Limited earnings results call for the three-month period ending March 31st, 2023. Please note that today's conference is being webcast and recorded. If you would like to ask a question, please press star and then one on your telephone keypad at any time. At this time, I'd like to turn the conference over to Colby Sinusail. Please go ahead, sir.
spk01: Thank you, Operator. Thanks also to everyone for joining the call today. I'm Colby Sinasel, the EVP of Communications here at IHS. With me today are Sam Darwish, our Chairman and CEO, and Steve Howden, our CFO. This morning, we published our unaudited financial statements for the three-month period and in March 31st, 2023, on the investor relations section of our website, and issued a related earnings release and presentation. These are the consolidated results of IHS Holding Limited's which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol IHS, which comprises the entirety of the group's operations. Before we discuss the results, I would like to draw your attention to the disclaimer set out at the beginning of the presentation on slide two, which should be read in full along with the cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements set out in our earnings release and 6K filed as well today. In particular, the information to be discussed may contain forward-looking statements, which by their nature, involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other important factors, some of which are beyond our control that are difficult to predict, and other factors which may cause actual results, performance, or achievements, or industry results to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements, or industry results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including those discussed in the risk factors section of our Form 20F, followed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other filings with the SEC. We'll also refer to non-IFRS measures that we view as important in assessing the performance of our business. Reconciliation of non-IFRS metrics to the nearest IFRS metrics can be found in our earnings presentation, which is available on the investor relations section of our website. And with that, I'd like to turn the call over to Sam Darwish, our chairman and CEO.
spk10: Thanks, Colby, and welcome everyone to our first quarter 2023 earnings results call. We had another strong quarter with growth primarily driven by a sequential step-up from new lease amendments, escalators, and Forex resets, while growth from power moderated, all as expected. Results also included a $48 million one-time benefit to revenue and adjusted EBITDA from our smallest key customer in Nigeria, inclusive of $5 million additional withholding tax gross-up and a $43 million one-time benefit to RLFCF. Lastly, Q1 results included a $9 million Forex tailwind versus rates previously assumed in guidance. All positive. We are reiterating our 2023 guidance for all our key metrics, including revenue, adjusted EBITDA, RLFCF, and CAPEX that we issued in March. We recognize the modest upside from the $5 million withholding tax benefit in Q1 and that our updated Forex rates now assumed in guidance imply $14 million upside versus rates previously assumed in guidance. However, given Forex rates in emerging markets can be volatile and that a notable risk of Naira devaluation this year exists, we think it's important we remain prudent in our approach and not increase our guidance. Overall, we remain on track to achieve our goals for 2023. Skipping to slide seven, I want to discuss some of our key highlights for the quarter. Starting with Nigeria, President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu is expected to be sworn in as Nigeria's next president on May 29th. We wish Mr. Tinubu much success and continue to be cautiously optimistic about the economic issues he has said he intends to address. More specific to IHS, we completed the upstreaming that began last quarter and resulted in an incremental $15 million upstream in Q1. We're also pleased to announce today that subsequent to quarter end, we have upstreamed an additional $50 million. Lastly, on Nigeria, during Q1, we elected to rationalize 727 towers occupied by our smallest key customer, where we were not recognizing revenue, but were incurring costs. This was as expected and will help drive cost savings, a positive development. In South Africa, Our acquisition of nearly 6,000 towers from MTN a year ago immediately made us the largest independent tower operator in the country. As we stated last quarter, and given various dynamics in the market, including an unprecedented level of load shedding that has occurred in the country post-deal close, we continue to evaluate our power services opportunities and will update you as appropriate and if necessary. Moving on, the Block B shares, which equate to just over 60 million shares, became available to trade without the registered offering requirement on April 14th, and another 120 million plus shares will become available in October 2023, including Blocks C and D. After taking initial steps in 2022 to help improve stock liquidity, including waiving the registered offering requirement last May, we believe the releases of Block B, C and D this year may further help our trading volumes and we continue to evaluate options that we believe will enhance the value of the company. At the same time, we continue to focus on delivering against our publicly stated fundamental objectives and building a track record with investors. Lastly, as previously disclosed, During Q1, we entered into a Naira-denominated term loan, an RFCF, as we look to increase the percent of our debt held in local currency, or more specifically, the Naira, in anticipation of a potential Naira devaluation. Overall, we continue to take a disciplined approach to capital deployment, recognizing the importance of maintaining a strong balance sheet. This includes net leverage of 3.1%. at the low end of our 3-4 target and no meaningful maturities due until Q4-25. While we continue to optimize our balance sheet, we are generally happy with where we are. Quickly, you'll see on slide 8 that we expect to publish our 2022 sustainability report later this quarter, which will be our fifth year of doing so. The 2022 sustainability report will be our first year reporting under the GRI framework, demonstrating our continued evolution in sustainability reporting at IHS. And with that, I will turn the call over to Steve.
spk05: Thanks, Sam, and hello, everyone. Having reported our Q4 and full year 2022 results less than two months ago and discussed some elements of Q1 then, I'll be particularly concise today. Turning to slide nine, as Sam mentioned, we're pleased with our Q1 performance. you will see that our main KPIs have all increased by double digit percentages in Q1 2023 versus Q1 2022. And we once again delivered double digit growth in revenue, adjusted EBITDA and RLFCF for the quarter, even after excluding the one-time cash payment received in Q1 23 from our smallest key customer in Nigeria. As Sam mentioned, we had already flagged this payment on the Q4 call and ultimately it resulted in $48 million of revenue and adjusted EBITDA and $43 million of RLFCF in Q1. Specifically in Q1, we delivered 35% growth in revenue, 37% growth in adjusted EBITDA, and 72% growth in RLFCF, in each case on a reported basis, driven by both organic and inorganic activity across our markets. Our adjusted EBITDA margin improved to 55.7% and 80 basis points gain on Q1 2022. I'll talk about these rates as adjusted for the one-time revenue on later slides to give the true performance comparison. As you also see, capex grew by 30% in the quarter, largely due to investment in network refurbishment in South Africa, increased capex relating to iSystems fibre deployment in LATAM, and in Nigeria, ongoing investment in Project Green, offset in part by decreases in other and fibre capex there. Finally, our consolidated net leverage ratio was 3.1 times at the end of Q1, an increase versus last year following our two acquisitions, but a slight decrease from Q4-22. Turning to our revenue on a consolidated basis, slide 10 shows the components of our 35.1% reported consolidated revenue growth for the first quarter. Organic revenue growth of 38% was driven primarily by the $48 million one-time revenue in other and by CPI escalations, power-related revenue and lease amendments, with FX resets, new collocation, new sites and fibre deployment adding to growth as usual. The level of escalations and FX resets you see reflects our contract protections, while the level of power-related revenue continues to reflect the high energy price environment, albeit it was down from last quarter. I would also again note that we now include the power pass-through revenue we received in South Africa within the power segment and in Q1 accounted for $1.4 million. On the right, you can see the organic growth rates of each of our segments for the quarter, with Nigeria delivering 47% organic growth, including that one-time payment. Inorganic growth for Q1 was 8.3%, reflecting the South African acquisition, the SP5 acquisition in Brazil, and the fifth stage of the Kuwait acquisition. Inorganic growth will continue to drop in Q2 as we are passing the anniversaries of the SP5 and South African transactions. Finally, FX delivered a negative 11.3% impact in the quarter. So in totality, even when excluding the one-time revenue in the quarter, we delivered strong growth of 24% on a reported basis and 27% on an organic basis. On slide 11, you can see our consolidated revenue, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margins for Q123. As I discussed on the prior slide, in the first quarter, IHS generated a 35% increase in reported revenue. Organic revenue growth was even higher at 38%, again demonstrating the continued strong top-line growth trends of the businesses, led by Nigeria and Latam in particular. In Q123, adjusted EBITDA of $335 million increased 37% versus Q122, and adjusted EBITDA margin was 55.7%, up 80 basis points from the prior year. The year-over-year changes in adjusted EBITDA and margin for the first quarter primarily reflect the increase in revenue we've already discussed, including that one-time revenue, partially offset with year-on-year cost increases in cost of sales, mainly due to higher diesel costs increased maintenance and repair costs on a larger business, as well as increased administrative expenses resulting from employee costs related to the acquisitions. Without the $48 million one-time benefit, adjusted EBITDA still grew 17%. Power generation cost of sales increased by $28 million, driven by a $23 million diesel cost increase, primarily due to a 38% increase in the diesel price, partially offset by a 7.5% decrease in consumption. each in Nigeria. As previously highlighted, we have locked in pricing for a significant portion of our diesel needs through September of 2023, and through Project Green, we continue to prioritize alternative sources of power to reduce our dependency on diesel. On slide 12, we first review our recurring level free cash flow. We generated RLFCF of $150 million in Q1 23, a 72% increase versus Q1 last year. due to a combination of factors, including the increased revenue and adjusted EBITDA discussed already, in particular the one-time payment in Nigeria, which had a net $43 million positive impact on RLFCF. These factors were offset in part by increases in net interest paid, lease payments made mostly due to South African acquisition, and withholding tax. RLFCF cash conversion rate was 44.6%, excluding the non-recurring revenue in the quarter. RLFCF still grew 23%, despite the higher energy and higher interest rate environments in this quarter versus the prior period. Turning to CapEx in Q1 23, CapEx of $153 million increased 30% year on year. The increase was again primarily due to increased capex in South Africa in connection with the refurbishment of the portfolio acquired during 2022. Also increased capex in LATAM, primarily Fry Systems, and increases in Nigeria in connection with Project Green, on which we spent $34 million in the quarter. And turning to the segment review on slide 13, I'll first walk through our Nigeria business. The Nigerian macro remains challenging, as we discussed in late March. US dollars continue to be difficult to source, although remain available, with FX reserves in the country having decreased to $35.5 billion at the end of March from $37.1 billion at the end of 2022. And while the price of oil has since decreased quarter on quarter, the ice gas oil price remains elevated versus a year ago, reflecting the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in Q1 of 2022, and it is the most relevant indicator of the diesel pricing we pay. Looking at ice gas oil, it was $819 per tonne in Q1 2023, down from $948 per tonne in Q4 of last year, but still above $786 per tonne in Q1 2022. Moving to real GDP growth, it expanded by 3.5% in Q4 of 2022, with a projected full-year 2022 growth of 3.2%. while inflation increased 22% this March versus 15.9% in March 22. Importantly, on May 29th, President-elect Bola Ahmed Tanubu is expected to be inaugurated. As we said previously, we're cautiously optimistic given the statements made by Mr Tanubu regarding addressing the economic issues facing the country, and we remain in close contact with our key customers, two of which have again recently published healthy top-line results in their businesses. We also continue to work closely with various regulators, our vendors, and our local banking partners to continue to best position IHS. All said, we believe the business remains well positioned for continued long-term success and to endure the near-term macroeconomic challenges. To this point, our Nigerian business once again delivers strong results in the first quarter, tracking well on our IQ metrics. Q123 revenue of $425 million increased 33% year-on-year on a reported basis. and 47% on an organic basis, in each case also reflecting the one-time revenue discussed. Top-line growth was driven by the usual group of power-related revenue escalations, FX resets, lease amendments, new co-locations, fibre, and new site deployment. The negative FX impact was $45.2 million, or 14%. Our tower count decreased by 2.9%, and total tenant count decreased by 0.2%, each versus Q1 2022, largely reflecting the plan decommissioning previously discussed, which does not impact our revenue. Our co-location rate consequently improved to 1.57 times up from 1.52 times in Q1 2022. Lease amendments continue to be a strong driver of growth, with these increasing by 13% quarter on quarter as our customers added additional equipment to our sites, particularly 4G upgrades. Q123 segment adjusted EBITDA in Nigeria was $272 million, a 34% increase from a year ago, and segment adjusted EBITDA margin was up 70 basis points to 64%. Let me now briefly summarize the results of our other segments. As our sub-Saharan African segment now reflects the inclusion of our South African business, towers and tenants increased substantially versus Q1 of 22. Revenue increased by 43%, of which organic revenue grew 16%, inorganic revenue grew 33%, driven by the South African acquisition, and FX was a 6.2% headwind. Segment adjusted EBITDA increased by 39%, driven primarily by the increased revenue, partially offset by increases in power generation costs, maintenance and security costs, and administrative expenses. Second, adjusted EBITDA margin decreased at 53.5% from 54.9% in Q1 of last year. We continue to monitor the macro environment in South Africa, particularly the ongoing power load shedding by the national utility. And as previously discussed, we continue to evaluate our managed services opportunity there. In our LATAM segment, towers and tenants grew more modestly by 3.4% and 9% respectively. last year. However, revenue and segment adjusted EBITDA each increased by over 40% in Q1 2023, largely due to the timing of the closure of the deal last year, as well as the ICE Systems fibre business. In Brazil, our second largest market was 7,023 towers. Macro conditions were largely stable as GDP growth decelerated, FX rates marginally strengthened, interest rates held steady, and inflation decreased. In our LATAM segment overall, Q123 organic revenue increased 18% driven by an increase from ice systems, CPI escalators, new sites and new co-location, with inorganic revenue increasing by 27% from the acquisition. Segment adjusted EBITDA grew by 41% in the quarter, with a segment adjusted EBITDA margin of 68.3%, reflecting the increased revenue but offset by increased administrative expenses, including increased staff costs and a bad debt allowance. In MENA, towers and tenants each grew by 8% in Q1 23 and revenue grew by 13%, including 11% organic revenue growth. Segment adjusted EBITDA grew by 1% in the quarter with a segment adjusted EBITDA margin of 37.6%, reflecting the increased revenue, but offset by increasing cost of sales and administrative expense. On to slide 14, I'll briefly highlight our KPIs. As of March 31, our tower count was 39,104, up 17.5% from the same period last year, driven largely by the acquisitions mentioned and ongoing new sites in LATAM, Nigeria and SSA, albeit down by a net 548 towers since the end of 2022. As you can see in the chart on the top right, collectively we built nearly 200 towers during the first quarter of 2023. But as Sam mentioned, we also rationalized 727 towers occupied by our Swarovski customer in Nigeria, where we were not generating revenue. Tower tenants grew 17% with the co-location rate at 1.49 times, flat versus last year, but up slightly from Q422. We continue to point out that lease amendments are a significant factor for us, particularly in our Nigerian segment, given the ongoing 4G upgrades by our customers there. and the initial, albeit small, 5G activity we are seeing. While lease amendments increase by almost 16% year on year, they are not included in our co-location calculation. We continue to see no reason why we can't get to two times or greater on our overall portfolio over the long term, and our more mature portfolios of towers are at or above that rate. On slide 15, we look at our capital structure and related items. At March 31, 2023, we had approximately $4.06 billion of external debt and IFRS 16 lease liabilities. Of the $4.06 billion of debt, $1.94 billion represent our bond financings, and other indebtedness includes $370 million that we drew down in 2022 from the $600 million three-year bullet term loan at the IHS holding limited level. Additionally, as discussed on our Q4 earnings call, in January of 2023, we entered into an up to 165 billion Naira five-year term loan and an up to 55 billion Naira three-year RCF. In connection with this, we repaid 114 billion Naira of our two Nigerian local currency facilities, and as you see in the table, removing significant 2023 amortization. The Nigerian RCF is undrawn. As we previously stated, we're very pleased to have completed the recent Nigeria refinancings, which further de-risked the balance sheet and increased our financial flexibility, particularly in light of the tough financing conditions that remain across the globe. Cash and cash equivalents were basically flat at $516 million at March 31. In terms of where that cash is held, approximately 10% of the total cash was held in Naira at our Nigeria business, as we've been using excess cash to support Project Green and upstreaming. The majority of the remaining cash was held in US dollars at the group level. Moreover, as we previously highlighted, in January, we upstreamed $15 million from Nigeria as part of the structured transaction that began at the end of last year and through which we have upstreamed $75 million across December 22 and January 23. And as Sam noted, we have upstreamed an additional $50 million in Q2 23. Consequently, from all these moving elements at the end of Q123, our consolidated net debt was approximately $3.5 billion and our consolidated net leverage ratio was 3.1 times down slightly from December and at the low end of our net leverage target range of three to four times, further demonstrating our strong balance sheet. Onto slide 16, we're reiterating 2023 guidance that includes revenue in the range of $2.19 to $2.22 billion. adjusted EBITDA in the range of $1.2 to $1.22 billion, RLFCF in the range of $430 to $450 million, and total CapEx in the range of $610 to $650 million. As Sam mentioned, while we recognise the modest upside in Q1, including the updated FX rates, given FX rates in emerging markets can be volatile and that we still expect a notable devaluation in Nigeria this year, we think it's important we remain prudent in our approach and not increase our guidance. Guidance also continues to include approximately $25 million of power pass-through revenue in South Africa, of which we recognised $1.4 million in Q123. I do want to again caution that timing of such moves is difficult to predict and could be delayed relative to what we've assumed, although this would have no impact on adjusted EBITDA or RLFCF. Guidance also continues to not include any revenue from Egypt, although we continue to evaluate opportunities in the market that we believe could align with our financial and strategic objectives. I also want to point out again that we have locked in pricing for a significant portion of our diesel needs in Nigeria through September 2023, which in turn will provide greater visibility to our costs. For the year, we continue to expect to build approximately 1200 towers, which is slightly more than the amount we built in 2022. This includes a noticeable drop in Nigeria as we pull back on new site builds as we shift more of our focus to project green, but also includes a tripling of tower builds in Brazil that will be back end loaded in 2023. On slide 17 on the top you can see revenue by reporting currency for Q1 23, whereas on the bottom we provide the breakout of revenue based on contract split. The right side shows the average annual FX rates, assumptions that we used in 2023 guidance, and has been updated slightly since last quarter. This equates to $14 million upside for the year versus rates assumed last quarter. This now brings us to the end of our formal presentation. We thank you for your time today and operator, please now open the line for questions.
spk03: Your first question comes from the line of Phil Cusick with JP Morgan. Please go ahead.
spk06: Hi, guys. A couple of things. Thank you. Let's just dig a little deeper into Nigeria. There's a new government. You've mentioned a couple of times a devaluation expected. It sounds like you've pared down your cash pretty aggressively getting ready for this. But just give us a little bit more on your thinking.
spk12: How you felt, Steve?
spk05: So not too much has changed since we last spoke in March. You know, Mr. Tanubu had been elected in February, which is obviously still the case. We've got the inauguration coming on the 29th of May. And the policies that Mr. Tanubu continues to sort of champion are the ones that we've mentioned before around, you know, potentially tackling the FX rate and the fact that it continues to be undervalued. Hence our comments around continuing to believe that there could be a devaluation of the currency during the course of 2023. The fuel subsidy as well, that continues to be a hot topic in Nigeria. If and when that may get ramped down, phased out and over time completely eradicated. So there isn't too much more I think we can say from our perspective. We're waiting to see the new government come in in the next week or so and then see if some of those pledges that were made through the campaign start to come to fruition.
spk06: Have the carriers changed their build pace or anything like that, or everything is just running at a pace?
spk05: Not significantly, no. We're continuing to see the likes of MTN in Nigeria, the likes of Airtel in Nigeria continue to push forward with their rollout. They're pretty focused on 5G at the moment, and by that I mean focused on figuring out exactly how best to get that to the population, which won't, as we've said before, won't initially be thousands and thousands and thousands of sites being rolled out, but it will certainly start to add incrementally to the infrastructure needs of the country. Indeed, we've seen that in Q1 a little bit and in Q4 a little bit last year as well. No significant changes. I would say the carriers are continuing to behave as we would expect them to in this part of the technology cycle, which is the early onset of the next year of technology.
spk06: Okay. And then, Sam, if I can maybe talk about the global tower M&A landscape. What does it look like in terms of potential carrier sales or other partnerships? and your leverage is running at this point at the low end of your target range, does that make you think any differently about either how you would structure things or what kind of deals you would want to do? Thank you.
spk11: Thanks, Phil. In terms of our position, maybe I start there. I think we have intentionally been on the prudent side over the past 12 months, I would say 12 to 15 months. We have kind of like seen this coming with the rising interest rates, and we realize pressure will be on our sector for sure. So it's kind of like shied away as much as we can. I mean, we still look at various M&A opportunities. We still did South Africa, which we thought was very strategic to us. But for us, it's largely about how strategic is it going to be and how expensive or how cheap can we get a deal. That's the important part at the moment. Now, having said that, I think there has been a dislocation between public valuations and private valuations. The private expectations, the private sector expectations kind of like did not trend down as fast as the public valuations did. So that dislocation kind of like was still there. But to be honest, Phil, we're beginning to see it softening somehow. as some of the sellers who need to sell kind of like are beginning to put their assets out there. There are a few processes in that time. There are a few processes out there in the Middle East at the moment. They're taking their time. But at some point, I think transactions will have to start happening. And they're not going to be at the high multiples that we've seen 18 months ago or 24 months ago. So I hope that answers your question.
spk06: In the meantime, with your leverage at the low end, Would you think about buying stock? How do you think about the need for liquidity versus taking advantage of the share price?
spk11: Look, I think this year is kind of like slightly different because we are in a very good position. Last year, we wanted to make sure we kind of like our balance sheet is tight, is ready for come what may. And I think Steve and the team have done a wonderful job in kind of like pushing maturities further. bringing more debt into the local currencies. Even our overall cost of debt remains kind of like somehow subdued. So yes, at the moment we are sitting at low leverage, which enables us to probably try and do more. But again, I don't think the world is out of its tunnel. I think the interest rates yet to be seen. How are we going to control inflation? Where does Europe stand? The political tensions with China. I think we are still in a phase that requires prudence. Now, if it is presented that is cheap enough, it has to be good commercials, it has to be strategic, we can do it. It's as simple as that.
spk12: But we're not in a rush.
spk03: Your next question comes from the line of Greg Williams with TD Cohen. Please go ahead.
spk07: Great. Thanks for taking my questions. Just one, just help us with your guidance. I know you reiterated it. And you are just admittedly one quarter in or even just two months from the last print. And even if I look at your underlying performance and these $43 million in one-time benefits, you are trending to beat. Just wondering if there's conservatism here and how much of that is factoring in maybe the uncertainty of the devaluation. And then second, just To ask again on devaluation, can you help me with the mechanics of it? Suppose there's a devaluation tomorrow, how quickly are your FX and CPI resets? Is it monthly, quarterly, to catch up with that, if you will? Thanks.
spk05: Hey, Greg. So, I mean, what you said, what you outlined in terms of the guidance is exactly how we've tried to portray it, exactly how we're thinking about it, which is Yes, we've had some positive performance in Q1, helped by, you know, some positivity around FX, et cetera. So, you know, we have tailwinds there. But as you said, we're only at Q1. We are taking, again, a cautious position around potential future currency devaluation, particularly Nigeria we've just spoken about. So our view right now is to, you know, layer a little bit of caution into the guide and not change it. But we're certainly pleased where we are within those ranges, you know, at the upper end, et cetera. So, yeah, that's exactly the thinking and the fact pattern around maintaining guidance as is for now. And then on your second question around as and when if devaluation happens, and we're specifically referring to Nigeria here, of course, And I'll just guide people to the slide 19 in our presentation, the earnings presentation, which is up on the website, gives you a pie chart of the frequency of our reset. So from a FX resetting perspective, the vast majority, in fact, 94% of those contracts are resetting on a quarterly basis. So if a devaluation were to happen tomorrow, in your example, they would start to reset from the 1st of July, being the next calendar quarter commencing. Now, they're not all spot. Some are taking the average of FX rates, et cetera. So you see that reset come through the next quarter and the following quarter. So that takes care of the FX side of things. And then from a CPI perspective, majority of CPI escalations are passed annually. In fact, pretty much all of them. And those are often in January, being the beginning of the calendar year, or on the anniversary of when any particular MLA was signed. So they are scattered a bit across the year. Those CPI resets are annual, whereas the FX resets, slide 19, most of them are quarterly.
spk08: Got it. It's helpful. Thank you.
spk03: Your next question comes from the line of Brett Feldman with Goldman Sachs. Please go ahead.
spk09: Thanks for taking the question. I guess I'll probably stick initially with the potential devaluation. You sort of alluded to it, but obviously it would be helpful to your Nigerian-based debt balances. It sounds like you've pulled down a lot of cash, so I don't think that that would be particularly harmful. Is there anything else that we need to think about from a mechanics standpoint? Would there be any gains or charges that you would take in a quarter where there may be a significant devaluation? And then remind us around the conversation you have with your tenants because a significant devaluation can make it more challenging for them to pay their bills, particularly bills that are tied to hard currencies. Anything we need to be contemplating there? And I have a follow-up question on Project Green.
spk05: Yeah, sure. I'll start taking that one. So in terms of anything else to be thinking through on, you know, potential devaluation, we do see unrealized FX losses in case of devaluation. which is effectively our third-party dollar debt, although in the case of Nigeria, that's now zero, so we won't see that. But shareholder loans, which is how we've historically pushed money into the country, so these are internal shareholder loans, to be clear, those are denominated in dollars, and so you can see unrealised FX losses there, but that will pass through the bottom of the income statement. It won't affect any KPIs. But you will see that come through if there is a devaluation coming through. In terms of customer discussions, I think there's a lot of things to keep in mind around the customer discussions. I mean, firstly, our key customers in Nigeria continue to be very healthy. The MTN and Airtel continue to grow their businesses really significantly, MTN about 19%. about similar 20% revenue growth in the last quarter, results they posted, and they're sitting at 52, 53% margin as well. So those businesses continue to be very profitable themselves, such that they can withstand these types of devaluations that pass through. I would also just point out that in some of those cases, we have been taking the diesel cost, the energy cost for those customers. So when we talk to customers about FX, we're also talking to them about energy prices, So it's a totality of conversation. Some they win, some we win, et cetera. So we're not expecting any particular issue with those key customers in the market. And that's been the case historically as well in terms of when devaluations have occurred.
spk09: Got it. And then just on Project Green, obviously it's still early days, but you seem like you're making good progress against that initiative. Any early anecdotal color you can give to us in terms of the extent to which it's yielding the benefits you had anticipated, or is it just too soon?
spk05: Yeah, it's a little too soon, so we'll have to get to that later in the year, but I would say it's very much on track. We are in that phase where it's only Q3, Q4, Q1, and a little bit coming in Q2 is really the timeframe to get CapEx out the door, to get all those solutions, grid connectivity, batteries, solar panels, et cetera, get all that onto site, spent and onto site, and starting to be connected and working. So we're a little bit early, but certainly we're on track. We're pleased with what we're seeing internally, and we'll update everyone in due course.
spk12: Thanks for taking the questions.
spk03: Once again, ladies and gentlemen, if you have a question, it is star one on your keypad. Your next question comes from the line of Michael Rollins with Citi. Please go ahead.
spk09: Thanks, and good morning. A couple follow-ups. So just, you know, looking at slide 10, if you add together the CPI and the FX reset The FX headwind to the right is a little larger than the combination of those two items, the escalations and the recess. How should investors be thinking about this relationship on a go-forward basis? Is it a net positive, net neutral, net negative? And is that the right way to think about that there's a relationship between all three of these components of the revenue bridge? And then just secondly, just taking a step back on some of the capital allocation strategies and some of the points that you outlined earlier, are there any new ideas or updates on how the board and the management team would like to translate the operating performance into creating shareholder value?
spk08: Thanks.
spk05: Sure. I'll take the first one. I'll help you start on the second one so I can jump in as well. So on the first one, yeah, you're absolutely right in the way of thinking about it. That's how I like to talk to people about, you know, the building blocks in this growth bridge. CPI escalations plus FX resets versus the FX impact at the end of the bar. There is, of course, timing nuances. These are very binary quarterly snapshots about growth. And so, you know, in the case of this particular quarter, when you look at FX reset selling 3.4%, yes, we had CPI escalated at 7.3, but against FX negative of 11.3, give you one example, which is the majority of what's happening there this quarter. In Nigeria, average billing was around 444 Naira. to the dollar, because some of it's based on spot and some of it's based on average of the preceding quarter, when the average rate we consolidated the books at was 461. So you'll see that true up, that balance come through in Q2. So that's why I say sometimes there's a little bit of timing within these growth blocks, but how you're thinking about it, Mike, is absolutely the right way to think about it. And it should be net positive overall. That's what we've seen historically. It's not hugely, hugely net positive, but it's certainly a positive when you combine CPI and FX reset versus underlying currency performance. On the capital allocation point, clearly it's the board's mandate to continue assessing these along with management. So we keep looking at all the different options between investing in the business, inorganic activity, things like buybacks, or other forms of capital allocation. So that continues to be a hot topic of agenda for us. And we'll continue to look at that through the course of, I suspect, this year. Sam, do you want to jump in?
spk11: Yeah. Hi, Michael. Look, Michael, it's very important to note that in terms of share price performance, where things stand, there is definitely, again, a disconnect. But let's not forget, we listed barely 18 months ago. We listed at the beginning of a downturn in the global economic cycle. Now, of course, this will reverse at some point in time. The most important part for us is, again, to be there in the public eye, quarter after quarter, showing what we can do, what our markets can do, how can they grow, how can we tackle problems, and at the same time, keep growing, keep expanding our margins. quarter after quarter. The strategy that we have maintained or created to basically help us get ourselves there is to diversify. We need to bring down or control our energy costs among our other things. We need to keep growing organically in double digits, et cetera, et cetera. So the most important thing is to keep doing these things quarter after quarter. And of course, the second part of the strategy is communications. That's why we kind of like have Colby now on board to basically be able to kind of like get ourselves out there in front of investors on a quarterly basis, on a monthly basis, sometimes even on a weekly basis, just keep kind of like reiterating the message time after time. I mean, this is the brute force way. This is the best way. This is the right way that will get us there over time to increase the size of our float. Remember, Michael, the float remains an inhibitor. The size of the float remains an inhibitor to kind of like realizing proper valuation potential. Now, having said all of this, the company and its board periodically, we evaluate strategic options. I mean, what else can be done? Can we do this? Can we do that? Can we run a secondary offering? Can we do this? Can we do that? Is buyback the right thing to do? I mean, we constantly evaluate things and at the appropriate time, If we feel that some of those strategic options are worth tabling, then we would put it forward.
spk09: Do you have any interest to attract minority capital into certain investments that you have as a way to maybe increase capital to recycle it for acquisitions while also trying to manage the valuation at which the capital comes in?
spk11: Look, all options are on the table, but no options are on the table at the same time and we continue to evaluate these things, but. It is it will happen as and when it is appropriate at the time we look at these things, but at the time we have no definitive plan to move with any of these options.
spk12: Thank you. Thanks Michael.
spk03: Your next question comes from the line of Bora Lee with RBC. Please go ahead.
spk00: Good morning. It's Bora Lee on for John Atkin. So two questions from my side. Can you remind us how you're viewing the opportunities for rural build-out and fiber deployment in Nigeria and how meaningful that could be over time? And then secondly, touching on Latin America, What are you seeing in terms of carrier activity there? I'm just curious if they're still going through that digestion period post-OI and when you think that might influx.
spk12: Hi, Bora.
spk05: So in terms of Nigeria, so rural activity is still around. We are not engaged in huge volumes of rural activity, but we're certainly continuing to do what what we can and what is needed. So I would say smaller part of the overall picture in Nigeria in 2023, and that will just really depend on carrier activity as well as our own desires. As we've mentioned a few times, outside diverting, if you like, capital into Project Green, which we think is a huge beneficial project for the country as well as for IHS. So that's really driving that. Fibre opportunity continues for sure in Nigeria. We're continuing to roll out what we call the kind of last mass of the fibre piece where we connect our own towers, which is effectively extending our infrastructure services to the entities, the customers that are already on the towers. So that does continue, but just to give you an idea, I mean, fibre across the entire group represents something like 3.5% of our revenue. So that is Nigeria and iSystems, our Brazilian business combined. So it still remains a reasonably small part of our business. I would say, standing back from numbers strategically, we do feel like there is opportunity for the right part of fibre within IHS over the short, medium and long term. We do think Fiber connectivity, you know, is the key to, you know, successful backhaul, particularly on 5G, but even on 4G. So, you know, that is certainly part of our thinking over the longer term. And then in LATAM carrier activity, I would say starting to free up. So you're absolutely right, you know, in terms of the carriers being distracted with oil over the last 18, 24 months and the carve up of that. I would say it's starting to free up a little bit. I think you're going to see our activity ramping up through the course of 2023, particularly on the new build side. You know, we've started off with a reasonably modest number of towers built in the quarter one, but I can tell you it's already accelerated in Q2. And so we expect to see that continue to ramp through the course of the year.
spk03: Thank you. Your final question comes from the line of Stella Cridge with Barclays. Please go ahead.
spk04: Hey there. Morning, everyone. Many thanks for all the updates. If I could just follow up and ask, what was the rate at which you upstreamed the FX in Q2 in Nigeria? That would be really helpful. And I also wanted to ask on South Africa. So I know on the last call you had commented that the mobile operators had to take some decisions about how they wanted to address the energy crisis. And I just wondered, you know, since that last call, do you have any more of a sense of what IHS's role might look like in terms of, you know, providing those solutions? I know you said earlier, you know, there's lots of questions about valuation, et cetera, but in terms of the actual sort of role of IHS, it would be great to hear if there's any updates there. Thanks.
spk11: I'll take the second. Steve can take the first one. Let me start with the second one. Look, I think no one disagrees with the fact that Parches is one of the most experienced power codes who can run power solutions in the whole world at the moment. I mean, our experience in Nigeria for the past 24 or 25 years, basically, we've done that in a country with, at the moment, 225 million people, where 95% or more of the sites don't even have a grid connection so the experience is there now at the moment we are listed in the new york stock on the new york stock exchange we are we are we have an equity story to tell and and and we are at our core our expertise however in south africa is critical because we want to use use it to help our clients we want to use it to help our clients mainly our partners kind of like overcome this this ordeal that is sadly happening in the country And it's going to be used in whatever form, whether we actually do the service, whether we consult, whether we become technical partners, whether we provide the services. It is basically at the decision of our partners.
spk12: And then on the second one, pretty short, sharp answer.
spk05: We haven't disclosed the rate of $50 million. Historically, we disclosed our rates at the end of each year. So we haven't done it so far.
spk04: Okay, thanks for the answers on both. And in terms of Q1 or Q2, was there some funds upstream from other countries, ex-Nigeria as well?
spk05: Yes, there were.
spk12: We haven't actually disclosed the details, but yes, there were upstreams from other countries as well.
spk03: that brings us to the end of the ihs holding limited first quarter 2023 earnings results call should you have any questions please contact the investor relations team via the email address investor relations at ihstowers.com the management team thank you for your participation today and wish you a good day you may now disconnect

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