Bharti Airtel’s Q4 net profit dips 72%

Bharti Airtel’s fourth-quarter net profit slumped nearly 72 per cent from a year earlier as a full blown price war triggered by Reliance Jio Infocomm’s free services hit both voice and data businesses which dragged revenue further.
India’s No. 1 telco’s net profit of Rs 373 crore for the three months ended March was sharply lower that the average estimate in an ET poll of analysts of about Rs 478 crore.
Revenue fell over 12% to Rs 21,935 crore from a year earlier as data and voice rates fell and the churn of subscribers out of the operator increased. The telco ended the quarter with almost 356 million customers across India, South Asia and Africa, Bharti Airtel said in a statement Tuesday. In India, which makes up over 77% of overall revenue, the company had nearly 274 million mobile subscribers.
“The sustained predatory pricing by the new operator has led to a decline in revenue growth for the second quarter in a row. The telecom industry as a whole also witnessed a revenue decline for the first time ever on a full year basis,” Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, India & South Asia at Airtel, said in the statement.
“The deteriorating health of the industry was compounded by the tsunami of incoming voice traffic from the new operator as a result of which significant investments had to be made just to carry the incoming traffic on our network. The net result of this was a revenue decline of 7.1% in Q4 even as EBITDA margins eroded by 2.9%. FY 16-17 saw a muted top line growth of 3.6% vs the double digit growth witnessed in preceding years,” he added.

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