SSTL Jan-Mar net loss narrows to Rs 528 cr

SSTL Jan-Mar net loss narrows to Rs 528 cr

Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd (SSTL), whose 21 licences are among those cancelled by the Supreme Court in the 2G spectrum case, today said its net loss has narrowed to Rs 527.8 crore, while revenues have grown 72 per cent for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012.

SSTL, which offers CDMA services under MTS brand, had registered net loss of Rs 666.4 crore during Q1 in 2011, SSTL said in a statement. It had reported Rs 1,197.7 crore loss in the October-December quarter.

"Inspite of numerous legal and regulatory challenges being faced by the entire telecom industry, SSTL has delivered strong results. The company continued to stay true to its focus on driving operational efficiencies across all areas of its business," SSTL President and CEO Vsevolod Rozanov said.

In February, the apex court had cancelled 122 telecom licences in the 2G spectrum case, including those of SSTL and Uninor. The companies are allowed to operate till August.

The company's revenue increased 72 per cent to Rs 407.2 crore during the quarter, from Rs 236.2 crore in Q1 2011. The revenue growth was driven by 57 per cent increase in subscriber base over Q1 2011, SSTL said.

The total wireless (voice and data) subscriber base for the quarter grew by 5.3 per cent to 15.82 million. SSTL's data card subscriber base for the quarter moved up by 15 per cent to 1.54 million subscribers. SSTL added 0.21 million data card subscribers during the reported period.

On the other hand, SSTL's mobile subscriber base increased by 5.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter and reached 15.82 million customers as of March 31, 2012. The company's mobile subscribers' minutes of usage (MoU) for Q1 2012 improved to 296 minutes, as against 288 minutes in Q4 2011. The blended mobile average revenue per user (ARPU) for the quarter declined, however, by 2.3 per cent to Rs 85.

SSTL's subscriber market share increased to 1.72 per cent in Q1 2012 (1.68 per cent in Q4 2011). Non-voice revenues from both data and mobile VAS for the quarter up by 11.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter to Rs 142.9 crore, the statement said.

By the end of Q1 2012, SSTL expanded its high speed mobile data services to more than 400 towns in India. "The number of data subscribers increased by 15 per cent over Q4 2011 to 1.54 million," it added.

"With the maturity of the business, SSTL has increased its focus to optimise its expenditure and at the same time deliver on  growth. "The quarter saw the shareholders approve an increase in the authorised capital base to Rs 12,000 crore by including non convertible and redeemable preference shares," SSTL CFO Sergey Savchenko said.

He said the move will strengthen SSTL's capital structure and provide an opportunity to reduce cost of funding, including the added flexibility to raise finances for its rapidly expanding business operations across the country.

The capital expenditure investments made by SSTL in India at the end of March 31, 2012 stood at Rs 6,474 crore, including an investment of Rs 121.3 crore made during Q1 2012. Accumulated losses of SSTL as at March 31, 2012 aggregated to Rs 8,425 crore, while consolidated debt from banks and financial institutions stood at Rs 8,285 crore.

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