Uninor posts profit on one-time adjustment in licence fee

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 07, 2014 19:07 IST

Uninor, the Indian arm of Norwegian telecom firm Telenor, on Wednesday reported an operating profit of about Rs 1,531 crore for the January-March quarter because of one-time accounting adjustment of Rs 1,660 crore related to licence fees.

Without that, Uninor posted an operating loss of Rs 81.8 crore for the quarter as against Rs 164.7 crore operating loss in the same period a year ago.

"We got one time offset of Rs 16.6 billion to be adjusted against future payments which is reflecting in our books. We have improved our performance though we are not EBIDTA positive due to the fresh investments this year following break-even in 2013," Uninor's Nominated CEO Morten Karlsen Sorby said while announcing result.

"Our operating loss excluding one time offset improved by about 49% at Rs 81.8 crore compared to last year," Sorby added.

The Empowered Group of Ministers on telecom decided in October 2012 to adjust the earlier payment made by companies whose licences were cancelled by the Supreme Court on February 2, and have no criminal proceedings pending against them in 2G case.

Uninor's 22 earlier licences were among the 122 cancelled by the apex court in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

The adjustment was made in the final price that companies have to pay for spectrum they have won in auction held in November 2012.

Telenor participated in November 2012 spectrum auction through new entity Telewings Communications and won radiowaves in six circles -- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, UP East and UP West for Rs 4,018.28 crore.

Uninor reported increase of about 44% in its revenue of Rs 930.6 crore during the reported quarter, from Rs 645.1 crore in the year-ago period.

"Our Indian operation reported an organic revenue growth of 44% in the quarter, gaining significant market share. We also launched a new Internet strategy in India, focusing on affordable and service-based Internet offers," Telenor President and CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas said.

Telenor group added 6 million new subscribers during the quarter most of which were added by its South Asian subsidiaries including Uninor.

"We added 6 million new mobile subscribers in the first quarter of 2014, the company?s best customer surge in two years. This growth was mainly driven by India, Pakistan and Bangladesh," Baksaas said.

Sorby said that achieving the target for the first round of investments by achieving break-even last year, the company has now made a fresh investment of Rs 500 crore towards a 30% expansion of the network and retail footprint.

The company is expanding the network coverage utilising 5,000 base stations from closed down circles and by end of first quarter, 1,036 new base stations were deployed in its operating service areas.

Uninor has set a target to double its Internet revenues and percentage of Internet users on the subscriber base within this year.

The company added 25 lakh subscribers during the quarter in 6 of the 22 circles where it operates, taking its total subscriber base to over 3 crore at the end of March.

Its average revenue per user increased by 13% during the quarter to Rs 106.

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