Bharti Airtel posts Rs 854 crore profit after six straight quarters of loss

New Delhi: Telecom operator Bharti Airtel on Wednesday posted a consolidated net profit of Rs 854 crore in the third quarter ended December 2020, mainly on account of high revenue customers and increase in subscriber base in India.

The company had registered a loss of Rs 1,035.3 crore in the same period a year ago.

Bharti Airtel reported the highest-ever consolidated quarterly revenue of Rs 26,518 crore, up 24.2 per cent from Rs 21,344 crore in the corresponding quarter of 2019-20.

Its India business surged 25.1 per cent to Rs 19,007 crore during the December quarter as against Rs 15,194 crore in the year-ago period.

Bharti Airtel had slipped into loss in the second quarter of 2019-20 after making provision of Rs 28,450 crore for adjusted gross revenue following a Supreme Court order. The company had posted its biggest net loss of Rs 23,045 crore in the quarter ended September 2019.

“Despite the unprecedented volatility that we have confronted through the year, we delivered another strong performance this quarter. This consistency in performance was across every part of our portfolio, as reflected in market share growth across all our business segments,” Bharti Airtel MD and CEO – India and South Asia – Gopal Vittal said in a statement.

Mobile revenue of the company grew by 32.4 per cent year-on-year on account of improved realisations and strong customer addition.

Bharti Airtel jumped back to a leadership position in terms of new subscriber addition after a gap of around four years.

The mobile average revenue per user (ARPU) – a key metric for telecom companies – jumped to Rs 166 from Rs 135 in Q3 FY20, mainly due to an outcome of its focus on acquiring quality customers as well as “secular upgrading of customers to data”.

“The main highlight of the quarter was about 13 Million 4G customers we added in our Wireless business. As a result, we grew our revenues by approximately 25 per cent over the same period last year and margins expanded.

“We are also proud to have become India’s first Telco to have demonstrated a LIVE 5G service over a commercial network in Hyderabad city,” Vittal said.

Bharti Airtel had increased the minimum recharge value for customers for pre-paid customers to Rs 45 from Rs 23 in December 2019.

The company also reported around 22 per cent rise in Africa revenue to Rs 7,644.2 crore during the reported quarter, compared to Rs 6,269.2 crore in the corresponding quarter of 2019-20.

The customer base of Bharti Airtel increased by 9.4 per cent to 45.79 crore from 41.88 crore on a year-on-year basis. The India customer base rose about 9 per cent to 33.62 crore from 30.87 crore and Africa grew by 11 per cent to 11.89 crore from 10.71 crore on a year-on-year basis.

The net debt of the company at December-end stood at Rs 1,47,438.2 crore.

“The Net Debt-EBITDA ratio (annualised) and including the impact of leases as on December 31, 2020, is at 3.03 times as compared to 3.40 times as on December 31, 2019. Excluding pending AGR dues, the Net Debt-EBITDA ratio (annualized) is at 2.52 times as on December 31, 2020,” Airtel said.

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Bharti Airtel said that during the quarter, the group has filed an application before the Supreme Court, highlighting basic arithmetical, clerical and computational errors in the demand raised by the Department of Telecom for adjusted gross revenue dues and the application is pending adjudication. 


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