Bharti Airtel posted a consolidated net loss of Rs 10.35 billion during the quarter ended (QE) December 2019, impacted by exceptional charge related to licence fee and spectrum usage attributed to adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues. This is Airtel’s third quarterly loss in 14 years.
However, the company posted a year on year (Y-o-Y) rise of 8.5 per cent in its consolidated revenue from operations, which stood at Rs 219.47 billion. Its consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) stood at Rs 93.50 billion during the quarter, while the EBITDA margin stood at 42.6 per cent, up 11.4 per cent on a Y-o-Y basis.
Airtel’s India revenues stood at Rs 157.97 billion, an increase of 7 per cent on a YoY basis (9.7 per cent on an underlying basis). Mobile revenues witnessed a YoY growth of 9.6 per cent led by a strong focus on quality customers, up-trading and in some part benefitted by the recent tariff actions, although the full impact of the tariff actions is yet to be seen. Consequently, the average revenue per user (ARPU), improved from Rs 128 to Rs 135 on a quarter on quarter (QoQ) basis. Airtel business revenue witnessed a growth of 6.6 per cent on a YoY basis.
Its Africa subsidiary reported a 5.97 per cent sequential growth in revenue at Rs 62.69 billion. At the operating level, it grew 8.6 per cent on a QoQ basis to Rs 28.33 billion.
According to the company, the amounts for the period ended December 31, 2019, are not comparable with prior period due to adoption of IndAS 116 w.e.f April 1, 2019.
Commenting on the results, Gopal Vittal, managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO), India and South Asia, Bharti Airtel, said, “We added ~21 million 4G customers to our mobile network and delivered superior value to our customers through the Airtel Thanks program. Data traffic saw strong growth of ~72 per cent Y-o-Y. We are on track to shut down our 3G networks across India and re-farm the 900 and 2100 band spectrum to further boost our 4G footprint to serve the surging demand for high-speed data.”
“While tariff revision undertaken in December 2019 is a welcome step towards repairing the financial health of the industry, we believe tariffs must go up further for enabling the industry to invest in emerging technologies,” he added.