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Bharti Airtel profit plunges 30%

Company grew its mobile customers 0.7 per cent from the prior quarter

Gulf News

Mumbai: Quarterly profit at Indian mobile telephone company Bharti Airtel fell a worse-than-expected 30 per cent on rising costs and slowing growth in new customers.

Net income in the July to September quarter was 7.2 billion rupees ($132.8 million), the company said yesterday. Sales grew 17.4 per cent from a year earlier to 202.7 billion rupees ($3.7 billion). Analysts polled by FactSet forecast net income of 7.9 billion rupees.

“Despite a seasonally weak quarter, I am pleased to see that our overall revenue growth has sustained through diversified segments and geographies as well as the continuing healthy demand in data services,” chairman and managing director Sunil Bharti Mittal said in a statement.

Bharti, India’s largest mobile phone company, grew its mobile customers just 0.7 per cent from the prior quarter, with a 5 per cent surge in Africa masking a 0.5 per cent decline in its core South Asian market.

In the June quarter, its mobile customers grew 3.7 per cent, with 3.3 per cent growth in its home market.

The company said it ramped up capital expenditure as it expands its networks in India and Africa.

Bharti and top competitor Vodafone stand to benefit from consolidation in India’s telecom industry in the long run, but for now, call rates remain hyper-competitive.

Telecommunications companies in India have also been hit by changing regulations in the wake of a massive spectrum fee scandal and a host of unexpected government fees.