Airtel Q4 profit slumps 71.7%

10 May 2017

India's Bharti Airtel has reported a steep 71.7% decline in net profit for its fiscal fourth quarter to 3.73 billion rupees ($57.6 million), as the company felt the effect of competition from newcomer Reliance Jio Infocomm.

Revenue for the quarter declined 12.1% to 219.35 billion rupees, with revenue from India down 7.1% year-on-year to 170.3 billion rupees.

Domestic revenue was impacted by a 11.4% year-on-year decline in mobile revenue as a result of intensified competition amid the free offering from Reliance Jio.

“The sustained predatory pricing by the new operator has led to a decline in revenue growth for the second quarter in a row. The telecom industry as a whole also witnessed a revenue decline for the first time ever on a full year basis,” Airtel CEO for India and South Asia Gopal Vittal said.

“The deteriorating health of the industry was compounded by the tsunami of incoming voice traffic from the new operator as a result of which significant investments had to be made just to carry the incoming traffic on our network.”

While Airtel's Indian mobile broadband customers increased by 20.5% to 42.7 million, mobile data's contribution to total revenue declined to 21.5% from 23.3% in the same quarter last year. Airtel's total mobile customer base in India grew 2.9% to 273.6 million.

Revenue from Africa grew 2.6% in constant currency terms, with data revenue up 14.5% year-on-year to 157 million, representing 17.7% of total revenue from the continent.

The company's Airtel Mobey mobile money service meanwhile increased its customer base to 9 million, increasing the total transaction value over the platform by 35.1% to $4 billion. Airtel's total Africa subscriber base declined by 0.4% to 80.06 million.

For the full year, net income declined by 37.5% to 60.77 billion rupees, with revenue down 1.1% to 954.68 billion rupees.

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