Bharti Airtel profit drops 75% year-on-year in first quarter

Alan Burkitt-Gray
Published on:

Company makes profit of just $57m on revenues of $3.4bn as Reliance Jio’s competition shows its effect

Bharti Airtel’s net profit has dropped 75% in the latest quarter, as revenue dropped 14%, the company has reported.

The company reported a significant difference between its operations in India and those in Africa. In constant currency, underlying revenue in Africa grew by 1.5% compared with the year before. But India’s revenues fell by 10% in the same period.

Bharti Airtel said that total revenues for the first quarter were 219 billion rupees ($3.4 billion), with profit of 3.67 billion rupees ($57 million). Indian revenue was 172 billion rupees ($2.7 billion), of which mobile data revenue was 37.6 billion rupees ($580 million).

Gopal Vittal, managing director and CEO of Bharti Airtel’s operations in India & South Asia, blamed the arrival of Reliance Jio into the market, though without naming the competitor. “[The] mobile market remains turbulent in the current quarter as well, due to disruptive pricing by a new operator,” he told media.

Traffic growth was high, despite the arrival of Jio, which has disrupted the whole Indian market, spurring many operators to seek mergers with rivals. Bharti Airtel reported data growth of 200% in the first quarter, compared with the same quarter last year, and voice growth was 34%.

“We also added 5.2 million data customers in the last quarter – our highest ever,” said Vittal.

Raghunath Mandava, managing director and CEO of the operations in Africa, said data consumption and revenue were up 75% and 11.3% respectively on the year. Underlying margins expanded from 19.9% to 28.0%, he added.