By Sandeep Joshi

NEW DELHI, APRIL 24, 2018: Bharti Airtel on Tuesday posted a 78 per cent decline in its net profit at Rs.83 crore for the quarter ended March 2017-18. The consolidated revenue of the telecom major fell 5.4 per cent to Rs.19,634 crore in the quarter against Rs.21,934.60 crore in the same quarter last year.

Blaming the ‘artificially suppressed pricing’ for tepid Q4 numbers, Airtel MD and CEO (India & South Asia) Gopal Vittal said: “The telecom industry continues to witness below cost, artificially suppressed pricing. Industry revenues were further adversely impacted this quarter due to the reduction in international termination rates. We have ended the financial year with our highest ever capital expenditure of Rs 240 billion. We intend to continue the rollout momentum next year as well.”

Airtel’s annual consolidated revenue stood at Rs 83,688 crore, down 9.8 per cent from the previous year. The company’s consolidated net debt has increased to Rs.95,228 crore from Rs 91,714 crore in the previous quarter. However, its net revenue from Africa grew 13.4 per cent Y-o-Y.  The country’s biggest telecom operator said it has crossed 30 crore mobile customer mark in India. Bharti Airtel’s overall customer base now stands at 41.3 crore across 16 countries.

Bharti Infratel, the towers arm of Bharti Airtel, announced its annual results on Monday. The numbers paint a rosy picture of the towers division and highlight the bleak situation at the core telecom business at the same time. For the financial year 2017/18, Bharti Infratel registered 8 per cent annual growth in revenues to Rs 14,490 crore. Its net profits slipped by 9 per cent to Rs 2,494 crore during the same period.

The Company’s Board has declared a final dividend of Rs 2.5 per share (face value of Rs 5 per share) for the financial year ended March 31, 2018. Together with the interim dividend of Rs 2.84 per share, total dividend for the year comes to Rs 5.34 per share, Airtel said in a regulatory filing.

“Airtel Africa’s revenues grew by 10.7 per cent on a Y-o-Y basis. Data traffic grew 88 per cent, voice minutes increased by 37 per cent. The acquisition of TIGO in Rwanda was completed during the quarter and I am delighted to welcome more than 3 million TIGO customers to the Airtel family,” said Raghunath Mandava, MD and CEO, Airtel Africa.

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