Bharti Airtel on Tuesday reported a 57.5% sequential growth in net profit at R961.6 crore in the fourth quarter of FY14 (89% year-on-year) as the company continued its exercise of rationalising base tariffs to improve its margins. The earnings were broadly in line with analysts expectations.
Consolidated revenue grew 1.2% sequentially (up 13.5% year-on-year) to R22,219 crore in the quarter ended March 2014, impacted by lower revenue from Africa operations. Mobile voice realisation in India improved to 37.07 paise per minute (up 2.08 paise y-o-y).
For the full 2013-14 fiscal, the net profit rose 21.8% to R2,773 crore, against R2,276 crore in the previous year. Revenue was up 11.5% to R85,746 crore.
“Network and spectrum investments, a refreshed IT strategy, innovative service platforms and an energised organisation will enable sustained growth in India and South Asia,” said Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, India & South Asia.
Bharti, in which SingTel owns about a 32% stake, has been struggling to grow in the face of intense competition and high interest costs on the debt it took on in 2010 to buy the African operations of Zain. The telco saw its finance costs decrease by 11% from a year earlier as it ended the fiscal with R60,542 crore in debt.
Industry consolidation and higher phone call and internet service subscription fees helped the company’s average revenue per user (Arpu) to grow 1% sequentially to R196 during the quarter.
Wireless revenue increased 3.8 % quarter-on-quarter to R12,083 crore in the quarter gone by. Operating profit rose 3% quarter-on-quarter to R7,307 crore and margin expanded by 57 basis points to 32.9% during the quarter.
While Arpu in India rose to R196, from R195 in the preceding quarter, the same from its Africa division fell to $5.5 versus $5.8 on a sequential basis. Africa revenue declined 1.7% q-o-q to $1,145 million during the March quarter and net income from operations stood at negative $116 million versus $103 million in the previous quarter while operating profit slipped 3.3% to $290 million and margin dropped 45 bps to 25.3%.
Full-year consolidated Ebitda at R27,777 crore reflects an Ebitda margin of 32.4%, an improvement of 2.2% over the previous year. Ebit at R12,127 crore increased by 43.6%, with margin improving by 3.2%.
Mobile data revenue at R1,325 crore registered a growth of 89.2% y-o-y while the company’s telemedia, DTH and Airtel Business segments registered double-digit revenue growth.
The international business, including the