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Bharti Airtel Ltd Q2 net profit drops to Rs. 586.1 crores

01 November 2017

The telecom firm's net interest costs also increased to Rs 1,905 crore compared to Rs 1,603 crore in the same quarter previous year on account of lower investment income.

Bharti Airtel consolidated revenue for the 2QFY18 declined 0.8 quarter-on-quarter to Rs 21,777 crore but its consolidated profit and revenue on year-on-year basis declined 76.5 per cent and 11.66 per cent respectively.

Bharti Airtel's average revenue per unit (ARPU) declined 23% to reach Rs 145 in the second quarter from Rs 154 in a year-earlier quarter.

The Sunil Bharti Mittal-led company Airtel feels that the market continues to see value erosion and financial stress led by competitive pressure, likely to increase further as the regulator has reduced interconnect charges from 14 paise to 6 paise.

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Raghunath Mandava, MD, and CEO, Africa, said: "Airtel Africa underlying revenues grew by 2.8 percent Y-o-Y with net revenues growing 6.3 percent on the back of the increase in data penetration".

India revenues for Q2'18 at Rs 16,728 crore have declined by 13.0% Y-o-Y primarily led by mobile drop of 16.8% Y-o-Y.

He added that this would eventually force operator consolidation and exits as witnessed in the recent past.

In an indication of how Airtel tried to retain its customers from moving to Reliance Jio's network, mobile data usage per customer during the quarter rose 308% to 4.08 GB per month as compared to 1 GB during the year ago period. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 17.4 percent to Rs 7,922 crore, while EBITDA margin contracted to 36.4 percent from 30.72 percent in the previous quarter, the company said.

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Bharti Airtel along with other established telecom firms has been engaged in a fierce tariff war with Mukesh Ambani controlled Reliance Jio.

"Airtel remains committed to its goal of increasing revenue market share in this competitive environment by providing superior customer experience and strategically investing behind building more data capacities", Vittal added.

"The forex and derivative loss for the quarter was at Rs 422 crore compared to loss of Rs 302 crore in the corresponding quarter a year ago", it said. Jio, which reported its results for the first time earlier this month, reported ARPU of Rs 156.4, now the highest in the industry.

The company's consolidated net debt increased to Rs 91,480 crore from Rs 87,840 crore in the same quarter a year ago. Earlier this month, Bharti agreed to take over the consumer business of smaller rival Tata Teleservices on a debt-free, cash-free basis.

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Bharti Airtel Ltd Q2 net profit drops to Rs. 586.1 crores