Airtel net income declines 72 per cent

The company’s consolidated revenue for the quarter stood at Rs 20,519 crore.

Published: 01st February 2019 07:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st February 2019 07:50 AM   |  A+A-

Bharti Airtel. (File photo | Reuters)

Image used for representational purpose only

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Telecom major Bharti Airtel’s financial results for the quarter ended December 31 only reinforce the sharp decline in profitability that Indian telecom majors (excluding Reliance Jio) have recorded over the past few quarters. While its overseas operations in Africa continued to grow at healthy rates, its India business has recorded a loss (before exceptional items) of Rs 971.9 crore compared to a net income of Rs 373.5 crore a year ago. 

Driven down by poor earnings in the Indian market, consolidated net income fell 72 per cent during the period at Rs 86 crore against Rs 306 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year. 
In fact, Airtel clawed into profit during the quarter primarily due to an accounting gain of Rs 1,017 crore from structural changes with respect to Airtel Payments Bank. 

The intense competition playing out in the telecom market in India, with price wars resulting in diving margins coupled with large-scale investment needs, has seen overall revenue from its India business fall by 2.3 per cent year-on-year to Rs 14,768 crore on an underlying basis. Mobile business revenue, specifically, saw a 4 per cent contraction. 

The company’s consolidated revenue for the quarter stood at Rs 20,519 crore. The saving grace is the steady growth in its Africa business, with Airtel Africa revenues growing 11.2 per cent to Rs 5,903.5 crore due to strong growth in data and Airtel money transactions. Airtel’s Africa unit also saw a 40 per cent rise in net income at Rs 551.8 crore. 

Airtel’s problems are not confined to low tariffs and margins, but extend to its customer base. While its global base grew by 2.4 per cent, this was due to net additions in Africa and other markets. India saw a 2 per cent decline in the number of subscribers, with continuing user migration into competitors, primarily Reliance Jio. 

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