India’s Bharti Airtel has reported falling profits for the three months ending June 2013, despite growing its revenues, due to foreign exchange losses and rising tax charges in Africa.
The operator reported net income of INR6.89 billion ($113 million), compared with INR7.62 billion this time last year, and saw revenues rise by 9.2%, to INR20.3 billion, over the same period.
Bharti (New Delhi, India) has continued to grow its customer base, adding another 3.7 million subscribers over the recent three-month period to give it nearly 275 million customers in total.
The revenue growth, however, was largely down to higher spending among Indian customers, with average revenue per user up to INR200 a month from INR184 this time last year.
Bharti attributed the increase to rising usage of voice services but the operator also flagged a 91.5% increase in data revenues in India, and growth of 65.8% in data revenues in Africa.
Investors responded positively to the news, sending Bharti’s share price on the Bombay Stock Exchange up by 5.8%, to INR339.65, during Wednesday morning trading, according to Bloomberg.
Another encouraging development was a $908 million reduction in net debt, leaving the operator with overall net debt of about $9.8 billion at the end of June 2013.
Bharti managed to raise about $1 billion by selling shares to Qatar Endowment Foundation and is considering divesting itself of shares in other holdings to further reduce its borrowings.
Chairman Sunil Mittal welcomed the performance during the recent quarter while taking the opportunity to criticize regulation of the telecoms sector in India.
“Our results for the quarter reflect the overall stability of our operations, and demonstrate the potential for growth, particularly seeing robust data growth across all geographies,” he said. “Results for Airtel India reflect rationality returning to the sector which needs to be complemented by a more enabling regulatory environment for a deeper penetration of telecoms and broadband services.”