The country’s largest telecom service provider Bharti Airtel on Wednesday reported a 27% year-on-year fall in net profit at Rs 1,661.2 crore for the quarter ended June-September. This is mainly due to stiff competition in India and high tax outgo in Africa.
This is the first result of the company after the acquisition of Zain’s Africa operations.
The company has a subscriber base of about 195 million across 19 countries. Its revenues went up by 47% to R15,215 crore during July-September quarter compared to R10,379 crore in the same period last year.
“Bharti airtel continues to maintain its leadership position in India and generate healthy free cash flows,” said Sunil Mittal, chairman, Bharti Airtel. “We are also redefining the accessibility and affordability level across Africa through innovative business models...”
That the cash flows are healthy is clear from an indication that Bharti is likely to prepay part of its debts soon. The company is looking at prepaying up to $900 million, Bharti Group chief financial officer Manik Jhangiani said.
The consolidated free cash flow in the first half (April-September) was an all-time high of R4,334 crore, Bharti said adding that it has also managed to arrest the declining revenue and subscriber trend in Africa.
The company is also in process to launch 3G mobile services across the circles it had bagged spectrum through auction held recently and in rest of the country through roaming pacts with other operators.