Bharti Airtel Q4 net falls 28% to Rs 1006 crore, capex outlook between $3-3.2 billion

NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel, India's biggest mobile phone carrier by subscribers, reported its ninth straight quarterly profit decline as intense price competition and losses on foreign exchange eroded earnings. 

Consolidated net profit fell to Rs 1,006 crore ($190.89 million) in the fourth quarter ended March from Rs 1401 crore a year earlier, Bharti said on Wednesday. The company said that the net income was impacted by higher costs on account of 3G license fee amortisation ( Rs 106 crore), 3G interest costs (Rs 84 crore), forexfluctuation losses (Rs 132 crore) and tax provisions (Rs 198 crore). 

The revenue grew at 11.6% for the full year in India & South Africa, mainly contributed by stability in pricing accompanied by growth in customer numbers. Africa, after adjusting for the number of days in Q1 FY11, grew by 18.8% in $ terms, on the back of network expansion and growing customer base. 

The consolidated EBITDA margins for the full year dropped to 33.2% versus 33.7% in the previous year, but Africa improved to 26.5% versus 21.9% in FY11. 

The consolidated net income for the year declined to Rs 4,259 crore versus Rs 6,047 crore, impacted by higher costs on account of 3G license fee amortisation (Rs 593 crore), 3G interest costs (Rs 421 crore), forex fluctuation losses (Rs 422 crore) and tax provisions (Rs 481 crore). 

Bharti Airtel expects consolidated capital expenditure of between $3 billion and $3.2 billion in the fiscal year that started in April, an executive said on Wednesday. 

The capex outlook excludes any potential payment for spectrum, said Sarvjit Singh Dhillon, group chief financial officer at the mobile operator's parent Bharti Enterprises. 

Commenting on the results Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman & Managing Director, Bharti Airtel said that he was pleased the year ended with the company's customer base crossing 250 million across twenty countries, the twentieth country being Rwanda. 

"Our launch of 4G LTE, the first in India, is testimony to our commitment to the broadband agenda," he said. 

Stating that the entire industry looks to the government for a fair, transparent and sustainable telecom regime, Mittal said, "The recent regulatory developments in India will have significant implications on the future of telephony and broadband, as well as India's global competitiveness." 


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