Bharti Airtel revamps operations | india | Hindustan Times
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Bharti Airtel revamps operations

india Updated: Jul 07, 2011 20:22 IST

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India's top mobile operator Bharti Airtel announced on Thursday it was streamlining its India and South Asia operations to create a leaner cost structure in order to boost its financial performance.

The restructuring comes as Bharti battles fierce domestic competition that has slashed call rates and is grappling with high interest costs on debt accumulated to purchase mobile licences in India and to expand into Africa.

Bharti chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal called the changes part of the company's "move into the next phase of our growth journey" that would create a "more agile organisation".

Bharti, the fifth-largest mobile operator globally by subscribers, operates in 19 countries in South Asia and Africa.

The company, which pioneered low-cost mobile services in India, said the new set-up would have two distinct units to serve retail and corporate customers.

Mittal said that in a emailed statement the revamped organisational structure was aimed at creating a "customer-centric" operation.

The announcement pushed up Bharti's shares by nearly four percent to 398 rupees, outperforming the broader market.

In May, the company reported a worse-than-expected 31-percent dive in quarterly net profit to 14.01 billion rupees ($314.3 million) from a year earlier.

Bharti paid $10.7 billion last June for the Africa business of Kuwaiti telecom operator Zain.

Its interest costs have soared due to the African purchase as well as from paying $3.3 billion to buy third-generation (3G) spectrum in India to offer mobile and wireless broadband services.