Bharti Q1 beats estimates, profit up 11%; Africa revenue down 3%

Telecom operator Bharti Airtel ‘s first quarter (April-June) consolidated earnings beat analysts’ estimates on all counts as profit surged 10.8 percent sequentially to Rs 1,462 crore despite higher finance cost. Revenue grew by 2.4 percent to Rs 25,572.9 crore in the quarter ended June 2016 compared with Rs 24,983.1 crore in March quarter, driven by India wireless, Airtel, digital TV and tower infrastructure businesses. Profit was estimated at Rs 1,050 crore on revenue of Rs 25,495 crore for the quarter, according to average of estimates of analysts polled by CNBC-TV18. Operating profit (EBITDA – earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) increased 4.4 percent to Rs 9,591.3 crore and margin has seen expansion of 70 basis points at 37.5 percent compared with preceding period, which were ahead of expectations of Rs 9,250 crore and 36.3 percent, respectively. Margin was supported by India business (up 250 basis points) as well as Africa (35 basis points) that improved for the third consecutive quarter. Consolidated revenue from its wireless business in India increased 2.7 percent sequentially to Rs 15,052.6 crore while Africa revenue declined 3.12 percent to Rs 6,249.3 crore in April-June quarter. During the quarter, average revenue per user from its India business increased to Rs 196 from Rs 194 while average revenue per user from voice business rose to Rs 139 from Rs 138 and average revenue per user from data segment climbed to Rs 202 from Rs 196 on sequential basis. Wireless volume of its India business grew by 2.2 percent quarter-on-quarter to 314.8 billion minutes. The top telecom operator said mobile data traffic was up 62.5 percent at 194.8 billion MB year-on-year in Q1. Average revenue per user from its Africa business was down at USD 3.8 from USD 3.9 while wireless volume increased to 35.2 billion minutes from 34.9 billion minutes on QoQ basis. Finance cost during the quarter surged 14 percent to Rs 1,942.4 crore while tax expenses were down 6.5 percent at Rs 1,008.9 crore compared with preceding period. Bharti Airtel said its net debt was down by 7.5 percent to USD 6,891 million on sequential basis.