Idea Cellular net profit doubles to Rs 468cr on strong data revenue

Written by PTI | Mumbai | Updated: Jan 28 2014, 19:46pm hrs
IdeaIdea Cellular added 18,297 new sites during 2013 expanding its presence to over 344,000 towns and villages. Reuters
Higher revenue from data services helped the country's third largest telecom operator Idea Cellular more than double its net profit for the October-December quarter at Rs 467.73 crore.

It had posted Rs 228.57 crore profit in the same period last fiscal, 2012-13.

The Aditya Birla group firm saw its Q3, 2013-14 data revenue grow over 107 per cent.

Idea said its consolidated profit includes contribution of Rs 69.6 crore from Indus Towers.

The company's Q3 total income jumped from Rs 5,578.58 crore to Rs 6,613.06 crore.

"Continuing with our long-term trajectory of expanding market share saw the standalone revenue grow 17.8 per cent from Rs 5,613.5 crore to Rs 6,610.5 crore in the reporting period on the back of a 9.4 per cent growth in total minutes of use and 107.6 per cent in data volume," Idea managing director Himanshu Kapania told reporters this evening.

On a standalone basis too the net more than doubled from Rs 191.1 crore to Rs 398.1 crore, driven by voice and data businesses, Kapania added.

"Cash profit remained healthy at Rs 1,566.3 crore, a growth of 41.3 per cent, helping the company reduce net debt by Rs 2,736.4 crore to Rs 8,945.8 crore," said Chief Financial Officer Akshaya Moondra.

The consumer preference for brand Idea continues to rise as company added 18 million incremental subscribers in 2013, taking the subscribers base to 129 million.

Idea launched the highest-ever tower installations of 18,297 new sites (2G+3G) during 2013, expanding presence to over 344,000 towns and villages.

The company's VLR subscriber market share at 16.7 per cent and 'revenue market share at 15.8 per cent, registering an improvement of over 1 per cent in last one year. The ARPU increased to Rs 169 as against Rs 158 in Q3 and the subscriber churn fell by 1.2 per cent to 5.6 per cent.

In spite of higher network expansion and inflationary pressures, Idea continued its record of sharp pre-tax profit growth at 37.7 per cent, Kapania said.

The contribution of Value Added Services increased to 16.1 per cent of the services revenue, from 14.6 per cent in the year-ago period despite steep decline in 'non-data VAS' segment from 8.9 per cent to 6.6 per cent.

Higher mobile data adoption has primarily led to VAS growth with data revenue as percentage of service revenue improving by 3.8 per cent to 9.5 per cent in last one year.

From this quarter, company eliminated incidental data users reporting, thereby overall mobile data users base has fallen to 25.5 million (2G+3G), but the mobile data ARPU has improved to Rs 91 compared to Rs 52 in Q3 of FY13.

The blended mobile data usage per user grew to 309 MB (2G+3G) as total data volume exploded at 107.6 per cent to 20.8 bn MB in Q3 as against 10.0 bn MB, he said.

The company added 4.6 million new 3G users during 2013 with 3G EoP user base (voice and/ data) now at 8.7 million. The 3G user mobile data ARPU is steady at Rs 112 per month.

Commenting on the company's QIP issue, Kapania said the company has already obtained approval from its board and shareholders. Since it has a 12-month window, the company is yet to take decision on QIP issue, he added.

Kapania refused to comment on reports of cut in spectrum fee for big telcos to spur auctions. Telecom companies buying radiowaves in an auction next month will pay 5 per cent of their revenue as an annual fee, a ministerial panel decided today.