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Q3-17: Jio affects Airtel revenue; Digital TV segment numbers up

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BENGALURU: Indian telecom major Bharti Airtel Limited (Airtel) reported 3 percent decline in total revenue for the quarter ended 31 December 2016 (Q3-17, current quarter) as compared to the corresponding year ago quarter. The drop was partially affected by a drop in revenue due to divestments of its Africa operating units, tower assets sale and merger of Bangladesh operations. However, like in the previous quarter, Reliance Jio’s entry has resulted in a drop in the company’s India mobile revenues which contribute a lion’s share to overall revenue.

Airtel MD and CEO of India and South Asia regions Gopal Vittal said, “The quarter has seen turbulence due to the continued predatory pricing by a new operator. The present termination costs at 14 paise which are well below cost has resulted in a tsunami of minutes terminating into our network. This has led to an unprecedented year on year revenue decline for the industry, pressure on margins and a serious impact on the financial health of the sector. At the same time our commitment to provide a superior experience to our customers has led to revenue market share crossing a lifetime high of 33 percent. Airtel revenues grew by 1.8 percent Y-o-Y and our non-mobile businesses continue to grow at a healthy clip and now contribute a sizable 24 percent of our total revenues.”

In consonance with Vittal statement, Airtel’s Digital TV Services segment (DTH segment) reported 17.7 percent year-over-year (y-o-y) increase in operating revenues for the quarter ended 31 December 2016 (Q3-17, current quarter). Also, Operating Profit (Earnings Before interest and Tax – EBIT) of the DTH segment in the current quarter increased 27.1 percent year-over-year (y-o-y).

Airtel DTH reported revenues of Rs 873.5 crore in Q3-17 and Rs 742.2 crore in Q3-16. EBIT for the corresponding periods was Rs 68.4 crore (7.8 percent margin of the segment’s operating revenue) and Rs 53.8 crore (7.2 percent margin of the segment’s operating revenue), respectively.

EBIDTA in Q3-17 also increased y-o-y – by 22.3 percent to Rs 302.6 crore (34.6 percent margin of the segment’s operating revenue) in the current quarter from Rs 247.4 crore (33.3 percent margin of the segment’s operating revenue).

Subscription numbers, ARPU

Airtel’s DTH segment added 14.82 lakh subscribers between Q3-16 and Q3-17, or a 17.3 percent y-o-y increase. It had 125.88 lakh subscribers as on 31 December 2016. Q-o-q, the segment witnessed a 1.5 percent growth (1.83 lakh adds) in subscribers from 124.05 lakh in Q2-17.

ARPU in Q3-17 increased to Rs 232 from Rs 229 in the corresponding year ago quarter, but remained flat q-o-q as compared to the immediate trailing quarter.

Airtel numbers

Bharti Airtel Limited saw a 3 percent decline in operating revenue to Rs 23335.7crore in Q3-17 as compared to Rs 24065.9 crore in Q3-16.. Profit after tax (PAT) in the current quarter declined to less than half (declined by 54.5 percent) y-o-y to Rs 504 crore (2.2 percent margin) from Rs 1,108 crore (4.6 percent margin). The company attributes decline in profits to net interest costs of Rs 1,810 crore that have risen from Rs 1,360 crore in the corresponding quarter last year largely due to increased spectrum related interest costs. Further, forex and derivative losses for the quarter came in at Rs 126 crore compared to Rs 57 crore in the corresponding quarter last year as well as exceptional items net losses of Rs 114 crore.

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