Vodafone India swings to first ever profit

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net

Vodafone India last week revealed it earned a maiden profit for the financial year ending in March, and announced its parent company will sell a stake in Bharti Airtel if new telecom rules require it.

Vodafone India was profitable in FY13/14 for the first time since Vodafone bought into the country in 2007, CEO Marten Pieters told the Times of India last week. But he did not disclose the details.

The company announced its financial highlights on Wednesday, but these excluded the net profit figure.

The results do show that revenue grew 10.6% to 356 billion rupees ($6.08 billion), with mobile data revenues up a strong 50.5% to 20 billion rupees. Ebitda margins meanwhile increased 3.4 percentage points to 29.7%.

Vodafone India ended the year with around 152.4 million mobile customers, 115,000 cell sites and a revenue market share of 21.3%.

Pieters has separately revealed that Vodafone Group will sell its 4.4% stake in rival Indian operator Bharti Airtel if new telecom regulations do not allow it to retain the stake.

In comments to the Press Trust of India published yesterday, he said it is currently unclear whether the new unified license rules coming into effect – which prohibit operators from owning shares in a rival – will apply in this case. This is because Vodafone Group owns the Airtel stake, not Vodafone India.

But if it emerges that the new rules do prohibit Vodafone Group from owning the stake, it will find a buyer for the shares.

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