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Bharti Airtel's tower business unit Bharti Infratel today reported 62 per cent jump in net profit at Rs 411 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2013, as operators focus on faster roll out of 3G networks.
Bharti Infratel Ltd had reported a net profit of Rs 254 crore in the corresponding period last fiscal, the company said in a statement.
Revenue of the tower firm also rose 4 per cent to Rs 2,731 crore for the reported period as compared to Rs 2,626 crore for the same period last year, it added.
"The regulatory environment in telecom sector is improving and more clarity will emerge after the auctions on February 3, 2014. With price hikes and the data revenues witnessing strong growth, the operators have started focusing on roll out of 3G networks," Bharti Infratel Vice Chairman and MD Akhil Gupta said.
He added that the company expects the momentum to increase in coming quarters.
"We believe that faster rollouts of 3G and 4G networks post successful spectrum auctions will be key in the coming year," Gupta said.
The total tower base of the company stood at 82,813 as on December 31, 2013 along with 163,370 co-locations, while the average sharing factor increased to 1.96 from 1.92 in the same period last year.
Bharti Infratel's consolidated portfolio of over 82,000 towers includes over 35,000 of its own towers and the balance from its 42 per cent equity interest in Indus Towers.
The company's consolidated operating free cash flow for the quarter was at Rs 708 crore, an increase of 30 per cent over the corresponding period last year on account of higher operating income.
Bharti Infratel Ltd Q3 net profit surges 62 pct, beats estimates, sees 3G expansion
(Reuters) Indian telecommunications tower operator Bharti Infratel Ltd beat estimates with a surge in quarterly (Q3) net profit, helped by higher investment income and lower interest expenses.
Bharti Infratel, just under 80 per cent owned by top Indian phone carrier Bharti Airtel, said on Thursday consolidated net profit rose 62 per cent to 4.11 billion rupees ($66.5 million) for the third quarter to end-December, from 2.54 billion rupees a year earlier.
Revenue for the December quarter grew an annual 4 percent to 27.31 billion rupees.
Five analysts on average had expected the company to report a net profit of 3.46 billion rupees, while the average revenue estimate of seven analysts was 27.48 billion rupees, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters StarMine.
Tower operators, who get their revenue from leasing mobile phone masts to cellular carriers, are betting on growth in mobile data networks to boost demand for mobile phone masts. The industry lost some clients last year after a court order forced several carriers to shut down or scale back.
Bharti Infratel, which raised about $512 million in 2012 from an initial public offering, is also expected to benefit from a recent network sharing agreement between parent Bharti Airtel and conglomerate Reliance Industries.
Bharti Infratel expects carriers to expand 3G networks in coming quarters as they see growth in revenue from data, Managing Director Akhil Gupta said in a statement.
The company, which is yet to spend much of the money raised from the IPO and has invested it in mutual funds, said other income rose 45 percent to 917 million rupees. Finance costs were down by a fifth.
Shares in Bharti Infratel, valued at about $5 billion, were up about 1 percent by 0653 GMT, having risen as much as 3.7 percent after the results. BNP Paribas last week downgraded Bharti Infratel citing limited upside potential. ($1 = 61.8450 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)