Bharti Airtel Q3 profit jumps 115 pct to Rs 610 crore

Written by Agencies | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 29 2014, 19:08pm hrs
Bharti AirtelBharti Airtel had reported a net profit of Rs 284 crore in the corresponding period last financial year.
Led by growth in data revenues, India's largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel's net profit rose 115.1 per cent to Rs 610 crore for the quarter (Q3) ended December 2013.

The company had reported a net profit of Rs 284 crore in the corresponding period last financial year, the company said in a statement.

Bharti Airtel has seen a growth in its net profit after losses in 15 straight quarters.

"Our focus on superior Internet experience has resulted in increased data adoption and usage. Data is now a huge source of revenue growth," Bharti Airtel Joint MD and CEO (India operations) Gopal Vittal said.

Consolidated mobile Internet revenues grew by 105.2 per cent year-on-year to Rs 1,736 crore, accounting for more than one-third of the overall incremental revenue, the company said.

The company's total revenues rose 13.3 per cent to Rs 21,939 crore for the quarter as compared to Rs 19,362 crore in the same period of the last fiscal.

Bharti Airtel said data customer base in India has increased by 31.2 per cent to 54.4 million customers and usage per customer gone up by 54.4 per cent, leading to 97.0 per cent increase in total data traffic.

The average revenue per user (ARPU) increased by Rs 9.7 to Rs 195. The company's net debt has been reduced to Rs 57,643 crore at the end of December 2013.

On the back of good results, Bharti Airtel's shares were trading at Rs 309.25 apiece in the morning trade, up 1.03 per cent.

International revenues, comprising Africa and South Asia, rose 18.50 per cent to Rs 7,676.3 crore for the third quarter as against Rs 6,477.5 crore in the same period of the last fiscal.

However, net loss for international operations widened to Rs 1,123.7 crore in the December quarter of this fiscal as compared to Rs 602.8 crore in the same period a year ago.

"The international operations continued to achieve steady revenue growth. Africa had another quarter of strong growth from the 3G/Data and Airtel Money services across all its markets, and we expect this trend to sustain due to large investments in brand and network," Bharti Airtel MD and CEO (International operations) Manoj Kohli said.

Bharti Airtel's average revenue per user in Africa was down 7 per cent to USD 5.8 for the quarter as compared to USD 6.2 last year.

The consolidated EBITDA margin improved to 32.3 per cent for the reported quarter as compared to 29.8 per cent in the year-ago period.

Bharti Airtel's net profit rises for the first time in four years

(Reuters) Bharti Airtel Ltd, India's top phone carrier, missed expectations but still reported its first quarterly profit rise in four years as the embattled domestic market turns the corner after a years-long price war.

Consolidated net profit more than doubled to 6.10 billion rupees ($97.4 million), Bharti said on Wednesday, but was sharply lower than analysts' estimates of 10.44 billion rupees. Before tax-related one-off costs, net profit was 8.32 billion rupees.

Shares in Bharti, valued at about $20 billion, pared gains to trade up 0.8 percent at 0428 GMT after rising as much as 2.9 percent after the results were released.

Bharti Airtel and its main rivals in India, including the local unit of Vodafone Group Plc, last year raised voice prices for the first time in three years. They continue to cut discounts previously offered to lure customers in a highly-competitive market.

Carriers have seen benefits of reduced competition after several smaller rivals were forced by a court order to either shut down or scale back operations. There are still about a dozen players, but the top three telecoms now account for more than 70 percent of mobile industry revenue.

While Bharti Airtel's results show a turnaround in the domestic market, the company faces a serious challenge from a mobile spectrum auction starting Feb. 3.

The auction is attracting interest from eight carriers, including cash-rich conglomerate Reliance Industries. Bharti Airtel must buy new airwaves in the auction in at least two key cities it serves to continue operations there beyond 2014.

The entry by Reliance Industries may prop up bid prices and the company could challenge Bharti and others if it launches voice services, analysts say.

Bharti Airtel, which entered Africa in 2010 by buying $9 billion in money-losing mobile phone assets, has yet to turn a profit there. It could sell its telecoms towers in Africa for up to $2 billion, which would help cut some debt, sources told Reuters last week.

Nearly a third owned by Southeast Asia's top phone carrier SingTel, Bharti Airtel operates in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, but India is its main market, contributing about 70 percent of its revenue.

Mobile data services were growing fast in India and Africa, Bharti said in a statement. It said growth had returned to Nigeria, its largest African market.

Total revenue for the three months ended December rose 13 percent to 219.39 billion rupees, marginally lower than estimates.

Average revenue per user, a key metric for telecoms, rose 1 percent sequentially for both Bharti Airtel's Indian and African operations. Total voice minutes sold in India rose 1 percent from the previous quarter.