Bharti returns to black with ₹854 cr. Q3 net profit

After six straight quarters of losses, telecom operator Bharti Airtel on Wednesday posted a consolidated net profit of ₹854 crore for the October-December 2020 quarter, mainly due to a one-time gain along with higher mobile data traffic.

The company, which had registered a loss of ₹1,035.3 crore in the year-earlier period, posted its highest ever consolidated quarterly revenues of ₹26,518 crore, an increase of 24.2% from ₹21,344 crore in the same quarter of 2019-20.

“Despite the unprecedented volatility that we have confronted through the year, we delivered another strong performance this quarter,” Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, India & South Asia, said. “This consistency in performance was across every part of our portfolio, as reflected in market share growth across all our business segments,” he added.

The consolidated net loss before exceptional items for the quarter stands at ₹298 crore. The consolidated net income after exceptional items for the quarter stands at ₹854 crore, the company said.

Mr. Vittal added that the highlight of the quarter was the addition of more than 13 million 4G customers, following which revenue grew by about 25% over the same period last year and margins expanded.

The company said its consolidated mobile data traffic saw a growth of nearly 53% to 8,191 PBs in the quarter.

India revenues for the quarter under review also grew to ₹19,007 crore, up 25%, driven by a 32.4% growth in mobile revenues on account of the improved realisations as well as strong customer addition.

The average revenue per user (ARPU) went up to ₹166 during the quarter as against ₹135 in the year-earlier quarter. “ARPU continues to be the best in industry — average data usage per data customer at 16.4 GBs/month; while voice usage was at 1,027 mins/customer/month.”

Revenues from Homes business segment grew 2.3% with highest ever customer additions of about 2.15 lakh during the quarter.

In a regulatory filing, the company noted that the merger of Indus Tower resulted in deemed disposal gain “on account of loss of control over the transferee company” of ₹9,449.6 crore, which has been included in profit from discontinued operation in the statement of profit and loss.

It also noted a net exceptional charge of ₹4,559.9 crore consisting of charge on account of re-assessment of regulatory levies and taxes, charge on account of reassessment of the useful life of certain categories of network assets and a net credit on account of settlement with a customer.

“As a result, the overall net exceptional charge [after tax] is ₹84,275 mn. The net share allocated to non-controlling interests on the above exceptional items is ₹1,298 mn,” the company said.

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