For the first time in its 14-year history, Airtel in the red; posts Q1 loss of ₹2,866 cr

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 01, 2019

Bharti Airtel posts loss for the first time in 14 years.   -  Reuters

However, despite stiff competition from RJio, revenues grow 5 per cent

With stiff competition and tariff rates diving to minimum levels, telecom services provider Bharti Airtel has reported a consolidated net loss of ₹2,866 crore for the first quarter ended June, a first-time loss in the last 14 years.

The Gurugram-based company had reported a net profit of ₹97 crore in the corresponding period last year. The company has been reporting decline in its profits amidst stiff competition from Reliance Jio over the last three years.

However, total revenue of the company during the period grew by round 5 per cent year-on-year (YoY) to ₹20,738 crore from ₹19,799 crore in April-June quarter last year.

“The first quarter of the year has begun with a healthy and equitable growth across all our lines of businesses. Headline pricing remained stable, albeit at low levels. We continue to remain focussed on providing value to customers through our rewards platform, Airtel Thanks. This has led to the second consecutive quarter of average revenue per user (ARPU) increase,” Gopal Vittal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, India and South Asia, Airtel said.

Overall customer base stands at 404 million across 16 countries as of June 30 and India mobile ARPU increased to ₹129 in the quarter, the company said, adding that total capex spend for the quarter stood at ₹5,047 crore.

“We remain obsessed about network experience. As a result, we have re-farmed spectrum from 3G networks to 4G across both the 900 and 2100 bands and begun the process of shutting down 3G networks in India. This has enabled us to deliver improved indoor coverage as well as enhance our capacities. Our underlying operational efficiency and customer-first mindset keeps us on track to grow our market share,” Vittal added.

4G mobile customers

Mobile revenues have witnessed a YoY growth of 3.7 per cent during the quarter and mobile data traffic has nearly doubled to 3,904 PBs in the quarter as compared to 2,003 PBs in the corresponding quarter last year, Airtel said.

Mobile 4G data customers increased by 63.3 per cent to 95.2 million from 58.3 million in the corresponding quarter last year. Non mobile businesses continue to perform well. Digital TV revenue witnessed a growth of 15.7 per cent YoY (decline of 25.5 per cent on reported basis due to reporting changes in DTH pursuant to the new tariff order, leading to content cost becoming a pass-through expense) on an underlying basis, it said.

“Airtel Business has witnessed a growth of 7.2 per cent YoY. Consolidated EBITDA at ₹8,493 crore increased 24.2 per cent YoY. Consolidated EBITDA margin increased by 6.4 per cent to 41 per cent in the quarter as compared to 34.5 per cent in the corresponding quarter last year,” it added.

Shares of Airtel closed at ₹323.95 a piece on the BSE on Thursday, down 4.10 per cent from the previous close.


Published on August 01, 2019

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