Bharti Airtel's quarterly net profit declines 22.4 percent

Telecom major Bharti Airtel Wednesday reported a 22.4 percent decline in consolidated net profit at Rs.1,011.3 crore for the quarter ended Dec 31 owing to high interest costs and higher tax provisions.

The net profit during the like period of the previous financial year was Rs.1,303.3 crore.
Total income stood at Rs.18,507.8 crore during the quarter under review, up 17.27 percent as compared to Rs.15,781.8 crore during the year ago period, the operator said in a statement.

Reacting to the news, the company's stocks at the Bombay Stock Exchange fell over 5.37 percent to an intra-day low of Rs.354.60.

The company, which has operations in 19 countries across the world, said its customer base was 243 million till Dec 31. According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) data, the operator's customer base in India till Dec 31 stood at 175.65 million.

The operator also said that India and South Asia continued its double-digit revenue growth aided by improvement in realisation rates. Africa revenue recorded 16 percent growth year on year at $1,057 million, which was a strong 32.2 percent in rupee terms, aided by exchange rate movements.

The income before taxes for the quarter increased by 2 percent to Rs.1,581 crore after accounting for the impact of 3G licence fee amortisation of Rs.164 crore and interest costs higher by Rs.116  crore.

The net debt equity ratio stood at 1.38 during the quarter against 1.33 during the previous quarter.

"I am pleased that investments in branding and networks continue to be our focus in India, as we enhance customer experience for voice quality and cater to the ever increasing demand for data. These investments are resulting in healthy growth of mobile revenues," said Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and managing director, Bharti Airtel.

"In Africa, we have crossed the 50 million customer milestone and are now one of the fastest growing telecom companies in the continent," he added.

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