Bharti Airtel Q1 profits up on gain from tower sales | business | Hindustan Times
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Bharti Airtel Q1 profits up on gain from tower sales

business Updated: Aug 04, 2015 20:01 IST

Bharti Airtel Ltd, posted a 40% rise in quarterly net profit, helped by a one-time gain from the divestment of some of its tower assets in Africa.

Bharti Airtel's net profit rose to Rs 15.54 billion ($244 million) for its first quarter ended June 30, from Rs 11.09 billion a year earlier, the company said on Tuesday.

The profit was aided by a net benefit after tax of Rs 4.58 billion, mainly related to the hiving off of tower assets in four African countries for about $1.3 billion.

Analysts on average expected the company, which operates in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, to post earnings of Rs 13.55 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The company's India business saw growth in voice and data demand, boosting total revenue 3.1% to Rs 236.71 billion.

Bharti Airtel, headed by Indian billionaire Sunil Mittal, said mobile data traffic grew 86.5 % in the quarter.

The number of mobile web users in India is expected to grow by around 28 % annually between 2013-2017 and reach 314 million by the end of 2017, according to a report released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India and KPMG.

Indian mobile operators are bracing for even more competition in an already cut-throat market as Reliance Jio, the telecoms unit of conglomerate Reliance Industries, plans to launch 4G broadband services by December.

"Our capex programme is mostly directed at increasing 3G/4G coverage," Bharti Airtel's India and South Asia chief Gopal Vittal said in a statement.

Last month, Idea Cellular, the country's third-biggest mobile operator, beat profit estimates and raised its capital spending guidance by about a fifth in preparation for its 4G rollout.

Bharti Airtel shares closed down 1.35 % ahead of the results.