Bharti Airtel Ltd, India's top mobile operator, on Thursday reported a forecast-beating 24.3 percent rise in quarterly profit as it added a record number of users.
South Africa's MTN and Bharti are in exclusive talks until July 31 over a complex deal that could eventually lead to a full merger, creating a leading global wireless group with more than 200 million subscribers and combined revenue of $20 billion.
New Delhi-based Bharti, which has nearly one-quarter of the world's fastest growing mobile market, said net profit rose to 25.17 billion rupees ($520 million) under US accounting rules in its fiscal first-quarter ended June from 20.25 billion reported a year earlier.
Bharti, in which Southeast Asia's largest telecommunication firm, Singapore Telecommunications, owns more than 30 percent, said revenue rose 17 percent to 99.42 billion rupees.
A Reuters poll of 12 brokerages had forecast a net profit of 23.88 billion rupees on revenue of 101.60 billion.
Bharti added a record 8.4 million mobile users in the quarter to reach a total of 102.4 million at end-June.