Telecom major Bharti Airtel today posted a 4.9 per cent drop in consolidated net profit at Rs 1,461 crore for the September quarter, mainly on account of increased interest costs and devaluation of Nigerian currency.
The company had reported a net profit of Rs 1,536 crore in the year-ago period.
“Net interest costs of Rs 1,603 crore have risen from Rs 1,053 crore in the corresponding quarter last year– largely due to increased spectrum related interest costs,” Airtel said in a statement.
Net debt at the end of the quarter stood at Rs 81,480.3 crore. It divested telecom operations in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone over the last two quarter to pare debt.
The company will now explore stake sale in its Indian mobile tower arm Bharti Infratel.
“The Board of Directors of the company…has authorised committee of directors to evaluate option for monetisation of significant stake in Infratel,” Airtel said in a BSE filing.
Airtel holds around 72 per cent stake in Bharti Infratel.
Also, free mobile services of Reliance Jio Infocomm impacted growth of Bharti Airtel’s mobile business in India.
Total income increased by 3.4 per cent to Rs 24,671.5 crore against Rs 23,851.9 crore earlier.
Airtel said consolidated revenue growth was muted at 3.3 per cent due to devaluation of Nigerian currency.
During the quarter, except for Nigeria, currencies were stable in most of the geographies, which resulted in lower forex and derivative losses of Rs 302 crore compared to Rs 822 crore in the corresponding quarter last year, it said.
India revenues during the quarter ended September 30 grew by 10.1 per cent to Rs 19,219 crore on year-on-year basis.
“This is primarily due to the strong performance of our non-mobile businesses which grew in aggregate at 18.8 per cent Y-o-Y, albeit our mobile business has experienced a slowdown in growth due to free services being offered by a new operator,” the firm’s MD and CEO (India, South Asia) Gopal Vittal said.
Airtel India business grew on account of 20.9 per cent growth in digital TV, Airtel Business (19.2 per cent), homes (14.9 per cent) and mobile (7.9 per cent) year-on-year.
Consolidated mobile data revenues grew by 21 per cent y-o-y to Rs 4,536 crore. India mobile data revenue grew by 23.6 per cent y-o-y to Rs 3,576 crore with 22.8 per cent increase in mobile data subscribers.
Mobile data revenues contributed to 24.7 per cent of total mobile revenues (21.5 per cent in year ago period).
Airtel said growth in its mobile usage during the second of quarter of current fiscal has been highest in last 20 quarters at 31,340 crore minutes.