New Delhi– Telecom major Bhrati Aritel on Tuesday reported Rs 1,461-crore consolidated net profit for the second quarter (July-September) of fiscal 2016-17, registering a 4.9 per cent decline from Rs 1,536 crore in the like period a year ago.

In a regulatory filing to the stock exchanges, the city-based company said consolidated income from operations grew 3.4 per cent to Rs 24,672 crore for the quarter under review (Q2) from Rs 23,852 crore in the same period a year ago.

Sequentially, though the net profit was flat from Rs 1,462 crore in the first quarter (April-June), the company income declined 3.5 per cent from Rs 25,573 crore in the previous quarter.

“India revenue increased 10 per cent year-on-year (YoY) while growth in Africa was 4.7 per cent YoY on underlying basis,” said the largest telecom services provider later in a statement.

Consolidated Ebitda (earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortization) increased 14.5 per cent YoY to Rs 9,466 crore and operating margin was up 3.7 per cent YoY to 38.4 per cent.

The income has been adjusted for Africa divested operating units and tower assets sale.

“Revenue growth muted 3.3 per cent on account of quarter impact of Nigeria currency devaluation,” the statement said.

India revenue grew 10.1 per cent YoY to Rs 19,219 crore, with Digital TV accounting for 20.9 per cent, Airtel business 19.2 per cent, homes 14.9 per cent and mobile 7.9 per cent.

“Our focus on enhancing customer experience and building a robust network has resulted in acceleration of revenue market share. Overall revenue momentum in India has been sustained during the quarter with 10 per cent YoY growth,” said Gopal Vittal, Chief Executive for the company’s India and South Asia operations.

Mobile data grew 23.6 per cent YoY to Rs 3,576 crore, with data customer base going up 22.8 per cent and traffic a whopping 54.9 per cent.

Mobile broadband customers increased 62.2 per cent to 41.3 million from 25.5 million in like period year ago.

“Data ARPU (average revenue per user) has moved up Rs 8 YoY to Rs 201 in Q2, led by 30.6 per cent increase in usage per customer. Mobile data revenues contributed 24.7 per cent of the mobile revenue vis-A-vis 21.5 per cent in the like period year ago,” the statement said.

The company divested operations in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone in Africa over the last two quarters.

The company, however, admitted that its mobile business growth had slowed down due to free services being offered by a new operator (Reliance Jio).

“In the long term, we are well positioned to lead the country’s data revolution with the recently acquired spectrum,” asserted Vittal.

The company’s scrip of Rs 5 face value gained Rs 4.55 on the BSE to end at Rs 311.05 per share as against Rs 306.50 closing price on Monday and opening rate of Rs 304 after trading high at Rs 311.90 and low at Rs 301.90 during the day.

The company has 363 million customers across 18 countries, up 8.5 per cent YoY, excluding divested units. (IANS)

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