Potentially 67% undervalued, I love the look of this FTSE 100 company

Good investing is all about finding opportunities for the right price. I think this FTSE 100 company could be top of my list.

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In the ever-evolving telecommunications landscape, Airtel Africa (LSE:AAF) stands out as a potentially undervalued gem in the FTSE 100. This telecoms powerhouse really catches my eye, with some analysis suggesting it could be trading at a significant discount. I’ve been a fan of this company for a long time, so is there still more growth ahead?

Growing market

The firm provides telecommunications and mobile money services across 14 African countries, focusing on Nigeria, East Africa, and Francophone Africa. It has positioned itself at the forefront of the continent’s digital revolution, offering a range of services from basic 2G to advanced 5G networks, along with innovative mobile money solutions. With populations growing rapidly in these areas, and major demand for technology, the company looks ready to take advantage.

The numbers

The company’s financial performance has been robust, with trailing 12-month (TTM) revenue reaching £3.95bn. Despite a challenging year for many in the telecom sector, the business has outperformed both its industry peers and the broader UK market, delivering a 9% return over the past year compared to the UK wireless telecom industry’s 3.9% and the UK market’s 6.3%. Not exactly earth-shattering, but in a sector with reliable growth, strong forecasts, and an experienced management team, I’m interested.


What makes an investment particularly intriguing is the potential undervaluation of the shares. According to a discounted cash flow calculation (DCF), the shares are trading at a staggering 67.9% below estimated fair value. There’s a lot to like when digging into the detail behind this too, with forecast earnings growth of 39.77% per year, significantly above the market average. This projection is underpinned by increasing mobile penetration and data usage across Africa.

I’m also a big fan of the other metrics that investors tend to pay attention to for this sort of company, with a price-to-sales (P/S) ratio of 1.1 times suggesting that the firm is priced at good value compared to both its peers and the broader industry.


While the investment case here is compelling, it’s crucial to consider the risks. The debt-to-equity ratio of 103.2% indicates a significant debt burden, which could limit financial flexibility. I also have some concerns about the recent earnings, showing a loss of £130.50m, and a negative net profit margin of 3.3%. Clearly there are challenges in translating increased revenue into bottom-line profits.

The dependence on business in emerging markets also worries me slightly. Such an investment always comes with inherent risks, including sudden regulatory changes, currency fluctuations, and political instability.

Next steps

Despite these challenges, the firm’s strong market position, impressive projections, and apparent undervaluation make it an intriguing prospect. The focus on mobile money services and expanding data usage aligns well with the ongoing digital transformation across Africa. As internet penetration and smartphone adoption continue to rise, Airtel Africa is well-positioned to capitalise on these trends.

As a long-term investor with a relatively high risk tolerance, I see there is a lot of potential here. If the company can continue to execute well, and capture market share in such a growing sector, there could be some real growth over the coming decades. As a result, I’ll be adding to my position at the next opportunity.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Gordon Best has positions in Airtel Africa Plc. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Airtel Africa Plc. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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