A day after its rival Idea Cellular posted a buoyant 91% jump in net profit, telecom giant Bharti Airtel also followed suit with an 89% surge in net income at Rs 962 crore for the quarter ended March 31, mainly on the back of robust data usage and improved operational efficiency. It had posted a net income of Rs 509 crore during the same quarter of previous financial year, the company said in a statement.
The mobile data revenue rose by 93.4% year on year across geographies, the company said in a statement.
The overall customer base too increased by 9.1% at 295.9 million across 20 countries year on year even as India saw 9.2% growth in customer additions with 205.52 users.
For the year ended March 31, 2014, the net profit of the India's number one telecom company stood at Rs 2,773 crore, up by 21.8% against Rs 2,276 crore during the year ending March 31, 2013.
The VLR rose to 96% from 95.1% during the previous financial year. The pre-paid customer base saw a marginal decline from 95.8% to 95.1% during the period under review.
The total average revenue per user or ARPU on the other hand increased to Rs 196 from Rs 193. Voice ARPU rose too Rs 162, up 2%. The data ARPU rose to a whooping 43% at Rs 79.
"The year has ended on a satisfying note, both in operational and financial terms. I would like to place on record the outstanding quality of work put in by our employees, who have been instrumental in this
achievement. Network and spectrum investments, a refreshed IT strategy, innovative service platforms and an energised organisation will enable sustained growth in India and South Asia," Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, India & South Asia said.
The company's international revenue grew by 17.2% year on year in rupee terms with Africa growing by 16.4% and South Asia by 30.0%.
However, customer acquisition in Nigeria was impacted due to restrictions imposed by the regulator on selling SIM cards during the month of March 2014. As on March 31, 2014, the company had an aggregate customer base of 69.4 million.
"The quarter was impacted by the seasonal downturn in parts of Africa and regulatory interventions in Nigeria. In the last year, we successfully integrated the acquired business in Uganda, and are confident that we will repeat the success in Congo B. Our teams remain focused on accelerating growth through improving the quality of network, growing the data business and expanding Airtel money base," said Christian de Faria, MD and CEO, Africa.
Net additions during the quarter were 1.1 million customers mainly arising out of the acquisition of Warid Congo S.A. Data customers which now represent 32.1% of the total customer base, as compared to 22.8% in the corresponding quarter last year, the company said.
The company incurred capital expenditure of Rs 70 crore in Airtel Business as compared to Rs 3.8 crore in the corresponding quarter last year. Operating free cash flow during the quarter was Rs 296 crore as compared to Rs 276 crore in the corresponding quarter last year.
The board has proposed a final dividend of Rs 1.80 per share (face value of 5 per share) for the financial year ended March 31, 2014, subject to approval by the shareholders.