Bharti Airtel profit dips 28% at Rs 1,006 cr

India’s largest mobile operator Bharti Airtel on Wednesday reported a 28.19 per cent dip in net profit at Rs 1,006 cr.

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | Mumbai | Published: May 3, 2012 12:57 am

India’s largest mobile operator Bharti Airtel on Wednesday reported a 28.19 per cent dip in net profit at Rs 1,006 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31 — its ninth straight quarterly drop in earnings — against a profit of Rs 1,401 crore in the same period of last fiscal as high interest cost and price war hit margins.

However,it saw 15 per cent jump in revenues at Rs 18,729 crore for the fourth quarter,2011-12,compared to Rs 16,293 crore in the year-ago period. Shrugging off the sluggish numbers,Bharti shares closed at Rs 317.95,up 2.47 per cent on the BSE. Though the company is confident of the investments it has made in its infrastructure for 3G and 4G services,there could be an impact of the uncertainty in the regulatory environment,Bharti indicated. “We have made massive investments in 3G,or in 4G or in Airtel Africa. We believe that we have made all necessary investment in all forms. However,on the flip side,this was perhaps the most disturbed year on the regulatory front,” Deputy CEO and Managing Director of Bharti Airtel’s parent,Bharti Enterprises,Akhil Gupta said.

“From our point of view,a very good and satisfactory quarter. In India,we got the growth back… As far as Africa is concerned,the upward trajectory continues,both in terms of revenues,Ebitda and the overall operations,” Gupta said.

For the entire 2011-12,Bharti’s net profit fell 29.6 per cent at Rs 4,259 crore,compared to Rs 6,047 crore in 2010-11. It was down due to higher costs on account of 3G licence fee amortisation (Rs 593 crore),3G interest costs (Rs 421 crore),forex fluctuation losses (Rs 422 crore) and tax provisions (Rs 481 crore). Besides,during the year immense competition in India led to a tariff war affecting margins across the industry. Total revenue for the 2011-12 fiscal stood at Rs 71,451 crore,as against Rs 59,538 crore in 2010-11,up 20 per cent.

During the fourth quarter,the company saw a marginal rise in average revenue per user (ARPU) at Rs 189 per month as compared to Rs 187 per month in the quarter ended December 31. “In the last two quarters,we have been busy correcting some structural defects and rate increases and this has given us the headroom to re-invest this increase back into the market and consolidate our market position,” Bharti Airtel CEO (India and South Asia) Sanjay Kapoor said.

Bharti,meanwhile,has announced consolidated capital expenditure of between $3 billion and $3.2 billion for FY’13. This includes $2.2 billion for India and South Asia businesses and $1 billion for the African region. However,it excludes any potential payment for spectrum,Bharti Enterprises Group CFO Sarvjit Singh Dhillon said.

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