India’s largest telecom operator, Bharti Airtel, reported a 22% decline in its consolidated net profit to $206.6 million during its fiscal third quarter of 2012 ending Dec. 31, 2011, which was attributed to 3G roll-out costs and higher interest costs. The consolidated net profit of the company in the same quarter in the previous year was $266.4 million.
The company also attributed the drop in net income to the impact of higher tax provisions, with a consolidated year-to-date effective tax rate at 32.5%. The company has been reporting a decline in net profit during the last eight quarters.
The company reported consolidated total revenues for the third quarter of $3.65 billion, which was a 17.1% increase compared with the previous year. India & South Asia continued double-digit revenue growth (12.1% year-over-year to $2.6 billion) aided by improvement in realization rates. Revenues from its African operations recorded a healthy 16.1% year-over-year increase; and was an even stronger 32.2% in Rupees aided by exchange rate movements.
Consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization margins for the quarter increased to 32.2%, with significant margin improvement being reported in Africa, which increased from 19.1% in Q3 2011 to 26.7% in Q3 2012.
“I am pleased that investments in branding and networks continue to be our focus in India, as we enhance customer experience for voice quality and cater to the ever increasing demand for data,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and managing director at Bharti Airtel. These investments are resulting in healthy growth of mobile revenues. In Africa, we have crossed the 50 million customer milestone and are now one of the fastest growing telecom companies on the continent.”
The company said that at the end of 2011 it had an aggregate of 243 million customers consisting of 232.9 million mobile subscribers, 3.3 million telemedia customers and 7.1 million digital TV customers. Its total customer base at the end of 2011 increased by 17.1% compared to the customer base at the end of 2010.
Average revenue per user across its India operations was at $3.82 during the quarter, compared to $3.74 in the previous quarter. The blended monthly usage per customer during the quarter was at 419 minutes.