Bharti Infratel's Q2 net drops 17%

Profit was estimated at Rs 319 crore on revenue of Rs 21,746 crore for the quarter, according to average of estimates of analysts polled by CNBC-TV18.

Airtel's overall data customer base increased 5% year-on-year to reach 65.7 million.

Bharti Airtel along with other established telecom firms has been engaged in a fierce tariff war with Mukesh Ambani controlled Reliance Jio. Mobile market continues to experience value erosion and financial stress led by competitive pressures.

If we look at net profit of the company from a six-month period, Airtel earned Rs 710 crore from April to September 2017 compared to Rs 2923 crore in the same period in 2016, showing a plunge of 75.7%. The net profit for Africa (before exceptional items) for the September quarter stood at Rs 306.7 crore.

The company's consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the September-quarter was at Rs 8,004 crore, down 15.4 per cent year-on-year with the EBITDA margin dropping by 1.6 percentage points to 36.8 per cent. Mobile data traffic for Airtel has grown four-fold to 784 billion MBs in the quarter compared to 178 billion MBs in the same quarter a year ago, the company said.

These factors will eventually force operator consolidation and exits as the industry has witnessed in the recent past, he added.

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India business revenue during the quarter dropped 5.2 percent sequentially to Rs 12,245 crore and EBITDA slipped 5 percent to Rs 4,208.7 crore due to pricing pressure, but margin increased 10 basis points to 34.4 percent.

"Airtel remains committed to its goal of increasing revenue market share in this competitive environment by providing superior customer experience and strategically investing behind building more data capacities", Vittal said.

Ahead of earnings, the stock closed at Rs 497.65, up 0.98 percent on the BSE. Jio's rivals - forced to slash effective data rates and offer free voice calling on some plans across price segments - have seen a key operational indicator - average revenue per user (ARPU) - crash over the past year or so.

India ARPU for voice and data combined fell 6.3% on quarter to its Rs 145, its lowest ever.

Mayuresh Joshi, Angel Broking fund manager and sector expert, wasn't surprised by the sharp drop in Airtel's net profit, "as the July-September period is, typically, a seasonally weak quarter". It was Rs 188 at the end of Q2 FY17.

Quarterly net finance cost rose by Rs 420.9 crore on year, with consolidated net debt totalling Rs 91,480 crore compared with Rs 81,480 crore a year ago.

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