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Bharti Infratel Q4 net profit slips 17% to Rs 597 crore

Net profit stood at Rs 718.4 crore in the January-March quarter of 2015-16, according to a company statement.

ET Bureau|
Updated: May 09, 2017, 12.37 AM IST
NEW DELHI: Bharti Infratel, India’s only listed telecom tower company, posted a 17% drop in net profit in the fourth quarter – declining for the first time in five quarters – on higher finance costs and rising expenses, primarily power and fuel. Profit fell to Rs 597 crore in the three months ended March from Rs 718 crore a year earlier, the company said in a stock exchange filing on Monday. Revenue rose 11% to Rs 3,520 crore as telcos expanded networks to cater to rising demand for data services.

Infratel was upbeat about the long-term outlook as the sector continues to witness a shift towards data amid consolidation.

“Indian telecom is undergoing a tectonic shift with consolidation settling in and business model shifting from voice to data-centric one,” Akhil Gupta, chairman, said in a statement.

“We are already seeing significant network rollouts to have data coverage and it is our belief that all operators going forward will further accelerate the data network rollouts to have deep coverage to match competition.”

The company’s tenancy ratio, or the average number of clients per tower, rose to 2.3 from 2.19 a year earlier. Revenue per tower per month went up to Rs 80,464 fromRs 76,602 in the same period.

Gupta said the company and Indus Towers, the world’s largest tower company in which Infratel owns a 42% share, were well positioned to take a majority share of the emerging business from building networks for smart cities, part of the government’s Digital India programme.

Bharti Infratel shares fell 0.55% to Rs 364.10 at the close on the BSE on Monday, before the results were announced. The benchmark Sensex gained 0.23%.

The company ended the January-March quarter with 90,646 towers, of which 39,099 were its own. Infratel’s net finance cost for the quarter was Rs 28.7 crore against a finance gain ofRs 103.1 crore a year earlier. Expenses increased 13% to Rs 1,936 crore in the quarter. Spending on fuel and power contributed the most – Rs 1,200 crore, up 16% from a year ago.

Infratel’s board of directors approved an interim dividend of Rs 12 per equity share for the year ended March with a cash outgo of Rs 2,670 crore, inclusive of tax on dividend. This is in addition to a share buyback for Rs 2,000 crore completed earlier during the year.

During the just-ended quarter, Bharti Airtel sold a 10.3% stake in Infratel to a consortium of funds advised by KKR and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for over Rs 6,193.9 crore, at Rs 325 per share. Subsequently, Bharti Airtel’s equity holding in Bharti Infratel stands at 61.7%.
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