IHS Holding Limited Ordinary Shares

Q1 2024 Earnings Conference Call


spk00: Good day and welcome to the IHS Holding Limited First Quarter 2024 Earnings Results Call for the three-month period ended March 31st, 2024. Please note that today's conference is being webcast and recorded. If you would like to ask a question, please press star and then the number 1 on your telephone keypad at any time. At this time, I'd like to turn the conference over to Colby Sinusel. Please go ahead, sir.
spk01: Thank you, Operator. Thanks also to everyone for joining the call today. I'm Colby Sinusel, 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 ended March 31st, 2024 with the SEC, which can also be found on the Investor Relations section of our website, and issued a related earnings release, presentation, and supplemental deck. These are the consolidated results of IHS Holding Limited, 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 our risk section of our Form 20F, followed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and our other filings with the SEC. We'll also refer to non-IFRS measures, including adjusted EBITDA, that we view as important in assessing the performance of our business, and ALFCF, that we view as important in assessing the liquidity 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. With that, I'd like to turn the call over to Sam Darwish, our chairman and CEO.
spk05: Thanks, Colby, and welcome everyone to our first quarter 2024 earnings results call. We're reporting solid performance across our key metrics when considering the further significant devaluation of the Nigerian currency, the Naira, that took place during the second half of 2023 and continued into the first quarter of 2024. Results were broadly in line with our expectations, while ALFCF meaningfully outperformed due to timing. We expect to see more positive momentum in the second quarter as our contract resets, Kiken, post the devaluation in Q1 24. As such, we are maintaining our 2024 guidance, including our Forex assumptions. We've made strong commercial progress since the beginning of the year across our African business. Organic growth for the quarter was 35%. Group-wide, we added 270 tenants and 523 lease amendments and built 216 towers, including 158 in Brazil. We previously announced the signing of a new 3,950 tenant multi-year rollout agreement with Airtel in Nigeria in February, which also included a three-year contract extension. We have renewed our master lease agreement with MTN in Zambia for a further 10 years and also just extended our MLA with MTN South Africa by another two years until 2034. For the remainder of the year, we expect an acceleration in our KPIs as the underlying trends driving our business remain healthy and the impact of our Forex resets that are associated with the narrow devaluation that occurred this quarter start to meaningfully benefit our adjusted EBITDA margins. During the quarter, The average forex rate for the US dollar to the Naira was 1,316 and was in line with our guidance of 1,315. This, however, compares to 815 in Q4 23 and 461 a year ago and equates to a $133 million headwind quarter over quarter and a $392 million headwind year over year. We, however, have seen the Naira appreciate versus the peak rates we saw in March, which I will speak to shortly. Skipping to slide seven, I want to discuss our highlights. I'd like to start by providing an update on our strategic review that we announced during our earnings call in March. We continue to look at all options through a value creation lens with the goal of maximizing the value of our assets and therefore value for shareholders over the near, medium and long term. There are a number of areas of focus here. One, increasing our operating profitability and substantially reducing our capex to increase cash flow generation. which is reflected in our 2024 guidance and implies a notable step up in adjusted EBITDA margins for the remainder of the year and a significant reduction in CAPEX year over year. Two, we continue to review our portfolio of markets to determine the right composition for IHS going forward. This is expected to include the disposal of certain markets with a target of raising $500 million to $1 billion over the next 12 months. And three, capital allocation of increased cash flow and disposal proceeds raised are expected to be primarily utilized to reduce debt. However, we will also consider deploying excess proceeds through share buybacks and or introducing a dividend policy. To be clear, these initial targets do not rule out further initiatives to continue increasing shareholder value, which we continue to assess in parallel. While it's only been two months, we're off to a good start, with significant work already completed by us and our advisors to identify and analyze these various opportunities. We will continue providing updates as we progress. Moving on to governance, as previously disclosed in January 2024, we reached a settlement agreement with Vandel, reflecting a commitment to strong corporate governance and constructive shareholder engagement. IHS's board of directors are supportive of the proposals being put forward by Vandell and recommends investors vote to approve these changes at our next AGM, which is expected to occur in June. Should shareholders support these proposals, we will have better aligned our governance policies with that of mature U.S. listed companies, which was an important goal we set at the time of our public listing. In terms of our commercial relationship with MTN, We are constantly in constructive and evolving discussions as matters keep progressing. In March, we signed a 10-year renewal with MTN in Zambia, and we just extended the South Africa MLA by two years as we reached an agreement to unwind our power managed services arrangement with MTN in the country. This agreement reflects the escalating load shedding situation in South Africa, whereby both companies agreed for MTN to undertake the CAPEX and OPEX requirements to build the resilience they desire. In Nigeria, we continue to constructively discuss and explore ways to support our largest client. Moving to our balance sheet, which is a top priority, we continue to actively pursue initiatives to extend maturities, manage interest expense, and shift more debt into local currency. During the quarter, we signed a new $270 million term loan and used the proceeds to pay down US dollar letters of credit in Nigeria, reducing interest costs and releasing cash collateral, which improved our liquidity position and improved our interest expense. At the end of the quarter, we had $693 million of available liquidity. As anticipated, given the devaluation during the quarter, our leverage increased further, ending the quarter at 3.8. However, we continue to expect to remain within our target range of 3 to 4 this year. I'd now like to provide an update on Nigeria's macros. In March, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced it had fully cleared the official forex backlog, and the Monetary Policy Committee further increased the policy interest rate by 200 basis points to 24.75%. Positive actions that appear to have had a positive impact on the Naira, which peaked at $16.25 on March 11th, but ended the quarter stronger at $1,394. We've also seen a narrowing in the spread between the official rate and the parallel rate to between 0% and 5% on most days, and a material improvement in U.S. dollar availability. This has enabled us to access approximately $200 million since the beginning of the year, of which we have upstreamed $61 million to grow. since the end of the quarter and 78 million dollars to settle usd letters of credit in nigeria with the balance used for general corporate purposes we expect to upstream more during the remainder of the year lastly on latin we completed the sale of our peru subsidiary to sba communications on april 30th 2024 and as noted earlier we built 158 towers in brazil during the quarter We remain committed to Brazil, which is our second largest market, and one of our factors growing. We continue to drive strong operational results there and see significant ongoing growth opportunities. And with that, I will turn the call over to Steve.
spk04: Thanks, Sam. And hello, everyone. Turning to slide nine, as Sam mentioned, here we show our Q1 performance. As you see here, both towers and tenants are up approximately 3% in Q124 versus Q123. while lease amendments again increased by double-digit percentages. Fundamental underlying tenancy growth continues across our key markets. Clearly, the financial performance in Q1 2024 was majorly impacted by the Naira devaluation in the quarter, from 912 Naira to the dollar at 31 December to 1,394 Naira to the dollar at 31 March 2024. Therefore, on a reported basis, revenue-adjusted EBITDA declined in the quarter, consistent with our prior expectation that our Q1 24 results would reflect the impact of the January devaluation of the Naira. Specifically, in Q1, revenue declined by 30.7%, adjusted EBITDA decreased by 44.8%, and ALFCF fell by 72.2% in each case on a reported basis, and driven largely by the impact of the devaluation more than offsetting the strong organic growth. However, it is worth noting that the period-on-period comparison is also distorted by the presence of $48 million of one-off revenue in adjusted EBITDA and $43 million of one-off ALFCF in Q1 of 2023. Our adjusted EBITDA margin decreased to 44.3%. We expect our financial results to notably improve in Q2 24, driven in part by our FX resets. Our level of capex investment decreased by 65% in the quarter, largely due to lower capital expenditure for our Nigeria and SSA segments, partially offset by an increase in LATAM, all of which I'll discuss shortly. As communicated last quarter, while we've increased our focus on cash generation and pulled back our capital allocation, we continue to focus on projects that we believe promise the highest returns and are the most strategic. Finally, our consolidated net leverage ratio increased to 3.8 times at the end of Q1, up 0.4 times versus Q4 23. This is consistent with the expected increase we flagged last quarter due to the most recent devaluation in Nigeria and still within our target three to four times range as we had guided. Turning to our revenue on a consolidated basis, you can see how the continued devaluation turned the course of strong growth into a 30.7% decline. The Naira devalued 35% in Q1 as mentioned already, yet the business delivered organic revenue growth of 35.5%, driven primarily by FX resets, CPI escalations and power. Our Q1 24 results also reflect the absence of $48 million from a one-time cash payment from our smallest key customer in Nigeria in Q1 of last year and includes a $5 million headwind as a result of the Brazilian telecom operator Oi having reached resolution on its restructuring plan. Fibre, new lease amendments, new collocation and new sites also contributed to organic growth this quarter and came from countries across our portfolio. The right side shows the organic growth rates of each of our segments for the quarter, where our Nigeria segment grew approximately 46%, including a large benefit from FX resets. On slide 11, you can see our consolidated revenue adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margins for Q1 24. As discussed, the Nigeria devaluation drove 31% decrease in reported revenue in the first quarter, despite the quarterly organic revenue growth of over 35%. that again demonstrated the continued strong top-line growth trends of the business. Q124 reported revenue includes a $133 million headwind quarter over quarter and a $392 million headwind year over year from the Naira devaluation, or $219 million after adjusting for the impact of FX resets over the past year. FX was an incremental $1 million headwind, during the quarter versus rates assumed in prior guidance when factoring in all currency assumptions. As we have previously noted, most of the FX resets on the US dollar denominated portion of our Nigeria contracts are calculated using the average rate of the prior quarter or the spot rate at the beginning of the current quarter, and therefore our Q1 24 results don't reflect the FX reset benefit from the late January devaluation, but this will start to show in our Q2 results. In addition, as we said, the comparisons also distorted due to the $48 million of one-off revenue in Q1 2023 and the $5 million headwind from Oi's restructuring plan, both of which have similar impacts on adjusted EBITDA. In Q1 2024, adjusted EBITDA of $185 million decreased 45% and adjusted EBITDA margin was 44.3%, down 1,100 basis points from the prior year. The year-over-year changes in adjusted EBITDA and margin for the first quarter primarily reflect a decrease in revenue, including the absence of the one-off items we've already discussed, as well as the higher operating costs in Nigeria versus our expectations, albeit power generation cost of sales decreased by more than $26 million. As previously highlighted through Project Green, we continue to prioritise the alternative sources of power to reduce our dependency on diesel. On slide 12 we first review our adjusted levered free cash flow or ALFCF and in Q1 24 we generated ALFCF of $43 million, a 72% decrease versus Q1 23, primarily due to a decrease in cash from operations and an increase in net interest paid, partially offset by a decrease in maintenance capex and withholding tax. However, the ALFCF growth rate is impacted by the $43 million of one off impact we saw in Q1 of last year, ALFCF cash conversion rate was 23.3%. ALFCF in the quarter does benefit positively from some timing aspects related to maintenance capex and interest and should normalize in Q2. Turning to capex in Q4, excuse me, in Q1 2024, capex of $53 million decreased 65% year on year. This decrease was primarily driven by lower capital expenditure for our Nigeria and SSA segments of $77 million and $22 million respectively, partially offset by an increase in capital expenditure of $1 million for our LATAM segment. The decrease in Nigeria was primarily driven by decreases related to Project Green and to maintenance capex, while the decrease in SSA is primarily driven by decreases related to refurbishment and also maintenance capex. As it relates to these decreases in maintenance capex over the past few quarters, we've challenged our operating teams to find ways to improve efficiency and their delivery. Thus, we believe much of the savings we see will be permanent as opposed to push out into after years. The increase in LATAM is primarily driven by increases related to new sites capital expenditure. As we've discussed previously, we remain focused on cash generation, but are still allocating some capital to projects that we believe promise the highest returns and are the most strategic. On the segment review on slide 13, I want to add to Sam's earlier comments on what we are seeing in Nigeria. In March 2024, the CBN announced having fully cleared the official backlog of FX transactions and raised interest rates by 200 basis points to 24.75%, the second rate hike in 2024. These actions appear to have had a positive impact on Nigeria's FX market. with the May the 10th US dollar to Naira Bloomberg rate at 1,436 versus a peak of 1,625 in March. The government, including the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Nigeria, passed a number of reforms in the last six months, both small and large, aimed at increasing dollar flow within Nigeria, increasing the attractiveness of Nigeria as a foreign direct investment destination and increasing transparency in the money markets. There is still more to do, But as a result, we've seen an increase in US dollars in Nigeria and FX reserves in the country have increased to $33.8 billion at the end of March 24, from $32.9 billion at the end of December 23. Since the FX rate environment adjusted in January, we were able to access $78 million to settle US dollar obligations locally in Nigeria. And additionally, we've upstream $61 million to group since the end of the quarter. We expect to upstream more over the remainder of the year. Meanwhile, the price of both oil and ice gas oil have increased recently. Looking at gas oil, it was $813 per tonne in Q124, up from $792 per tonne in Q423. And also inflation jumped to 33.2% this March versus 22% in March last year. For IHS, Q124 revenue of $228 million decreased 46% year-on-year on a reported basis. reflecting that ongoing devaluation in the quarter and the one-off revenue in Q123, but increased 46% organically. Organic growth was driven primarily by FX resets and escalations. The negative FX impact was $392 million or 65% due to devaluation. Our tower and tenant count increased by 0.2% and 1.9% respectively versus Q1 of last year. Our co-location rate consequently improved to 1.59 times up from 1.57 times in Q1 last year. Lease amendments continue to be a strong driver of growth, increasing 9.3% year on year as our customers added additional equipment to our sites, particularly 5G upgrades. Q1 2024 segment adjusted EBITDA in Nigeria was 103 million, a 62% decrease from a year ago, and segment adjusted margin was down 1,800 basis points to 45.2%, each case largely driven by the naira devaluation impacting revenue and the one of vitamin q1 last year while operating costs this quarter were higher than our own expectations for things such as bad debt diesel albeit year over year we saw an overall reduction in cost of sales primarily from diesel savings in our sub-saharan african segment towers and tenants increased by 1.4 2.9 respectively versus q123 Revenue increased by 7.5%, of which organic revenue grew 15%, driven primarily by escalations and FX resets. Segment adjusted EBITDA increased 6.4%, which primarily reflects the increased revenue, partially offset by an increase in cost of sales due to higher power generation costs. Segment adjusted EBITDA margin was stable at 53% versus 53.6% in Q1-23. And also, as Sam mentioned, starting in Q2 of this year, We will no longer be providing backup power services to MTN South Africa and now have a more traditional steel and grass model with MTN South Africa. This has de-risked our business and will improve margins and cash flow. In our LATAM segment, towers and tenants grew by 11% and 6.4% respectively versus Q123. Revenue increased by 4.7%, of which organic revenue growth decreased 0.4%, but that as a result of the Brazilian telecom operator always restructuring plans. and the subsequent renegotiation of their contractual agreement with us in Brazil, leading to a 5 million reduction in revenue this quarter that we had not anticipated in guidance. Segment adjusted EBITDA increased by 9%, leading to a 70.8% segment adjusted EBITDA margin, the 250 basis point increase versus Q1 of 23. In Brazil, our second largest market with 7,815 towers, macro conditions were largely positive as FX rates were essentially flat and both interest rates and inflation came down. In MENA, towers and tenants grew by 8.7% and 9.1% respectively, while revenue increased by 12%, including a 6% organic revenue growth driven primarily by new sites and escalations. Segment adjusted EBITDA grew by nearly 66%, and the Q1 2024 segment adjusted EBITDA margin increased to 55.6%. Now skipping to slide 15, we look at our capital structure and related items. At March 31, 2024, we had approximately $4 billion of external debt and IFRS 16 lease liabilities. Of the $4 billion of debt, approximately $2 billion represents our bond financings. and other indebtedness includes $370 million that had been drawn down from the three-year bullet term loan facility at the IHS Holding Limited level. That facility had $130 million of undrawn capacity in Q1, of which we voluntarily reduced the undrawn amount by $70 million in the quarter, and in April we completed a drawdown of the remaining $60 million balance since the availability of that remaining balance was expiring. As Sam mentioned, the balance sheet is an important component of our thinking as it relates to the strategic review. We have already undertaken and continue with various balance sheet initiatives to one, extend maturities, two, manage interest rate expense, three, swap dollar obligations into local currency where possible, and four, add flexibility to our capital structure. This includes in March when we signed a $270 million bilateral loan to refinance our letters of credit in Nigeria, extending the maturity of these obligations, reducing interest expense by approximately 300 basis points, and releasing approximately $95 million equivalent of cash collateral previously held against these letters of credit. As you can imagine, we're pleased to have completed these initiatives, which further de-risked the balance sheet and increased our financial flexibility. Cash and cash equivalents increased to $33 million at March 31 and excludes the $60 million of additional funds from the term loan we drew down in April. terms of where that cash is held approximately 34 was held in naira at our nigeria business given the money that was recently freed up from the collateral against the credit lines we're in the process of upstreaming much of this and have been able to upstream 61 million dollars following the end of the quarter at an average rate of approximately 1 279 naira to the dollar a positive reflection of the government's recent actions to increase daily fx turnover or usd availability and bring together the divergence between the parallel and official rates. While we anticipate to upstream again in 2024, we do caution, it remains to be determined if the increased dollar availability can be sustained. Consequently, from all these moving elements, at the end of Q124, our consolidated net debt had reduced to approximately $3.7 billion, and we had consolidated net leverage ratio of 3.8 times, up 0.4 times, versus the end of 2023. We expect leverage to remain within our current target of three to four times net leverage ratio this year prior to the realization of any future disposals, at which time we expect the leverage to drop. Finally, as it further relates to the devaluation, I want to point out that our Q1 results show an unusually large net loss of $1.6 billion, which is driven primarily by the finance costs, the vast majority of which is unrealized FX losses. As we saw in Q2 of last year, in particular, after the then Nigerian devaluation, these costs arise principally due to our US dollar bonds and because of the US dollar intercompany shareholder loan structure we have used historically to fund the business. These costs, which are very large non-cash, can vary significantly and typically increase in the context of a devaluation of the Naira, which is the primary reason why they increased dramatically in Q1. We've added back slide 21 to the appendix of the presentation as we did in Q2 of last year to help further explain this dynamic and highlight the delta this past quarter. Moving to slide 16, we are maintaining our 2024 guidance, including our FX assumptions, but we are now absorbing an additional $12 million in lost revenue from OI versus our previous expectations and has 100% flow through to adjusted EBITDA and ALFCF. Despite that, we expect to see an improvement in our financial results and margins starting in Q2-24 as we benefit from the FX resets associated with the devaluation in Q1-24 and based on our expectations for our KPIs. I'd also add that we've been mentioning that we've been reviewing our Power Managed Services Agreement with MTN in South Africa for some time now. And as we've discussed, this has already been completed in Q2-24. However, this doesn't impact our guidance as this was already factored in. On slide 17 on the left, you can see our revenue by reporting currency for Q1, whereas on the right we provide the breakout of revenue based on contract split. The bottom of the slide shows the average annual FX rates assumptions used in our 2024 guidance and our own change from last quarter. This now brings us to the end of our formal presentation. We thank you for your time today.
spk10: Operator, please now open the line for questions. Thank you.
spk02: And as a reminder to those on the phones, please press star 1 to raise your hand. We'll now pause briefly while we register questions in the Q&A roster. And your first question comes from the line of Richard Cho from JP Morgan. Please go ahead.
spk09: Hi. I wanted to check and see what you're seeing in terms of the transition to 4G and 5G in Nigeria. Given that the currency had been so unstable, did you see a pullback? And now with, I guess, the rates kind of converging and having a little bit more stability, do you think you'll see an acceleration in that build for the rest of the year?
spk10: Morning, Richard. This is Sam.
spk06: Look, it's unavoidable. At the moment, the carriers in Nigeria are focused on weathering basically the devaluation, the massive devaluation that has occurred. They will, in my view, slow down the transition from 4G to 5G. In any case, even as we talk 4G, they're still kind of like in the final stages of that rollout. So it's not going to be a massive delay. But My estimate is that we may see a little bit of a slowdown on the rollout of 5G until they see a little bit more clarity on where the Naira will land.
spk03: Richard, Steve, I would say just that we've factored in a bunch of that into our guidance already. So if you remember, we pulled back significantly on CapEx. A lot of that's being driven through reductions in noodle sites in Nigeria as well as some other things as well. So some of that was already baked in. I would also say if you look at Airtel Africa's results on Nigeria, they still continue to be pushing pretty hard as evidenced by our agreement with them in February around 3,950 tenant rollout over five years. So there's certainly a bit of slowdown given where the macro is, but we're still seeing particular people like ASL are still keen to push ahead. We did add some 5G lease amendments in the quarter. We had 523 lease amendments total in Q1. And within that, there was some 5G, albeit mostly 4G.
spk09: And then regarding the oil churn, I guess it's $12 million for the year. Is there any more after this year, or is that – largely going to be it.
spk10: I mean, that impact will continue thereafter.
spk03: It actually moderates a bit next year, given the restructuring plan that's been agreed with them. But that's effectively what we're seeing through the impact of 2024. So I need to reiterate that that 12 was not forecast. We haven't forecast some already, but that 12 was not forecast. So you can consider that almost out
spk10: additional hit. Great. Thank you. Your next question comes from the line of Michael Rollins from Citi. Please go ahead.
spk11: Thanks, and good morning. A couple questions. First, I'm curious if you'd Good morning. I was curious if you could give us an update on churn, what you're seeing from customers, and if there's still some churn that needs to be processed in any of your key markets that we should be mindful of. Then second, in terms of the strategic review, did you look into the question as to whether or not the public markets are the right place for IHS equity, and what did you learn on that front? Thanks.
spk03: So, Mike, on the churn point, there isn't anything particularly new in terms of what we're seeing. No particular situations with carriers in any of our markets. I mean, people are obviously aware of the ongoing discussions with MTN in Nigeria, and that originally centered around 2,500 sites at the end of this year. But outside of that, we haven't changed our stance on that either. But other and remains pretty low.
spk06: And hi, Michael. This is Sam. Look, on the second question, look, we like New York. We like public markets. We definitely like you guys. So it's kind of like we're happy where we are. But at the moment, we have announced a strategic review. The strategic review will look at every different aspect of where we are. We fundamentally believe that we are being undervalued by public markets. Now, the whole asset class is kind of like under pressure given where cost of money is at the moment. Our peers, our U.S. peers are 40% down, for example, over the past two years. So we do acknowledge this is some kind of a trough at the moment that the markets are seeing. But again, Michael, look, nothing is off the table as we conduct the strategic review, and we will kind of like make the relevant announcement as and when we progress that review.
spk10: Thank you. Your next question comes from the line of John Atkin from RBC. Please go ahead.
spk12: Thanks. Just curious about capital allocation. relative to the strategic review, and what are some of the criteria that you're evaluating when you think about, you know, potential dispositions? You talked about wanting to, you know, remain in Brazil, but whether it's by asset class or relative scale or geography, but any kind of broad brush criteria that we should think about as you think about dispositions?
spk03: Yeah, I think, I don't see, I think just broad brush, you know, the business has always been a growth stock and we're in growth markets, we're an emerging market, growth infrastructure company. And I think that that is the intention to remain as such. You've seen this year that we've pulled back significantly on sort of organic CapEx spend. And that's so that we can focus on specific areas. This year it's Brazil. And so hopefully that forms part of the long-term capital allocation. But what we're also being very clear on is that that totality of capital allocation is changing from history. We looked historically to deploy significant capital into M&A opportunities. And right now we're thinking through what we have already. We're thinking through the balance. you know near return uh shareholder returns and whether that be through uh reinvigorating share buybacks or whether that be through dividends at some point in the future um so so those are sort of the broad brush changes that that we are working through right now and that we're we're trying to be to be clear on thanks uh again i think you kind of gave us some of the tools to think about this but what what what can you highlight just to maybe to repeat or
spk12: accentuate the 55% EBITDA margins for the year. So there's a step up here, and what are the major drivers of that, of your EBITDA margin expansion?
spk03: Yeah, so I think a few things. First, the Q1 EBITDA margin looks a little low in comparison to the full year trend, and that's in part driven by the OECs that we covered, but it's also in part driven You'll see step up in margin from technicalities around pass-through, but also particularly for our contract reset. We commented clearly on how Q1 has been impacted by the narrative valuation and contracts will start. In fact, we have started resetting at the beginning of April in Q2. So you'll see that step back up again. So for the rest of the year, given where we are in Q1, given the implied full year margin of 65%, and run through the next three quarters of the year.
spk10: And the business is taking that direction.
spk12: And lastly, on the builder suits, can you share what the kind of the single tenant or initial tenant returns are that you're underlining to for the builds that you have in your pipeline?
spk10: Yeah, I mean, no differences.
spk03: and the majority of those remaining sites are in Brazil. We've always been of view that single-tenant returns should be double-digit, and then once we get a second tenant on, we'll see something around the 20% mark from a returns point of view.
spk10: That continues to be the way we think about things, and we'll see how that bit unfolds. Thank you. Your next question comes from the line of David Lopez from New Street Research. Please go ahead.
spk07: Hi, good morning. Most of my questions have been answered, but one left on leverage. I was wondering what would be the leverage level you would like before starting to think about further share buybacks or introducing the dividend? And actually, a follow-up, apologies if it has been answered in the first question, but I missed part of it. We have seen MTN Nigeria cutting its CAPEX guidance materially a few weeks ago. I was wondering what's the risk to your guidance, and does that mean that we should maybe expect more to be toward the lower end of the revenue range or not?
spk12: Thank you.
spk10: Hi. We kind of deal
spk03: I think we covered the MTN point already in terms of the very first question we have. So, yes, we've seen MTN pull back on some capex. We expected that. And that was sort of placed into our guidance, but it's being offset by Airtel's push in the country, given the announcement we signed. So not expecting that to materially impact the guidance that we've put out, really. And on the leverage before a return, that's all being worked out right now. I don't want to get ahead of that. And clearly 3.8 times where we are in Q1 is up towards the top end of our range. In time, we'd like to be back down at the bottom end of that range. Historically, we've been out of the bottom of that range. But we're working through that right now as part of the broader strategic review to put some real framework around the disposals, which we spoke about a little bit already today, but also then how we allocate that.
spk10: Majority is debt, but some may come back to direct share return.
spk06: Thank you. David, if you allow me to also add that, look, we are comfortable with our liquidity position at the moment. I mean, we have roughly $700 million of liquidity. Traditionally, however, we have always been conservative on our debt allocation and we've always kind of like even the range that we like to stay in with the three to four is a range that is lower than most of where our peers are. Even as we are now with a massive devaluation of Naira that took it from 400 to the dollar to almost 1400 or 1500 to the dollar, we still are within our range. But again, this conservative mentality that Steve is talking about is the one that is driving us to basically say, you know what, let's further reduce our leverage. But it's not basically, it's not something that, it's not a danger we face at the moment. It's just something that we feel comfortable staying basically at lower levels of the range. And by the way, this is not tied to the dividend payment or this is not tied to a shareholder buyback situation. Those are more kind of like tied to, concluding the strategic review that we are doing. We want to make sure that we get all the pieces somehow tied together before we kind of like commit to shareholder return.
spk10: Okay, very clear. Thank you. Your next question comes from the line of Stella Creech from Barclays.
spk02: Please go ahead.
spk08: Hi there, morning all. Many thanks for all of the updates. Yeah, there was just a couple of other areas I wanted to ask about. So on the sub-Saharan African contracts, were there any changes of note in the Zambia contract versus before? And I remember I think you also had the Rwanda contract maturing, so I just wondered what the status of that was. And secondly, I had also noticed that the negative EBITDA portion, the other part, a.k.a. other costs, perhaps whole core costs, is down at 27 million versus being in the 30s in per quarters. So I was just wondering, is that a sustainable level going forward, or could this come down a little bit further?
spk10: That would be great.
spk03: Stella, so on the first question, nothing particularly of note to comment on in terms of the Zambia renewal, pluses and minuses as ever, but a 10-year renewal with MTA in Zambia. Rwanda is not quite done yet. We're not quite there yet. And sorry, the final question. Can you just repeat the final question for me?
spk08: Which are you talking about? Yeah, so the negative EBITDA from other areas. So these unallocated costs. I just noticed it's cut in quite a bit.
spk03: Yeah, so that's kind of holding company costs. It's been represented this quarter just to make sure that the presentation is correct. But that is our group costs. Yes, it's come down versus the private.
spk08: Okay, that's super. And maybe if I could just ask also on the South Africa change of the agreement there, is there any economic impact on the profitability of the contracts versus prior?
spk10: So that's all been already baked into our guidance, Stella.
spk03: So there's sort of ups and downs and sort of amazing guidance.
spk10: So no change to what you've been presented with. Okay.
spk08: All right. That's great.
spk10: Thank you.
spk02: And that brings us to the end of the IHS Holding Limited first quarter 2024 earning results call. Should you have any questions, please contact the investor relations team via the email address investorrelations at ihstowers.com. The management team thank you for your participation today and wish you a good day.

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