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Bharti Infratel Q4 profit inches up 1.5% YoY to Rs 606 crore

Quarterly consolidated revenue rose 4% on a yearly basis to Rs 3,662 crore.

ET Bureau|
Updated: Apr 24, 2018, 08.47 AM IST
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Quarterly consolidated revenue rose 4% on a yearly basis to Rs 3,662 crore.
KOLKATA: Bharti Infratel, India’s sole listed tower company, reported a 1.5% rise in net profit in the fourth quarter, helped mainly by reduced finance costs, although a sharp fall in colocation of telecom sites amid ongoing consolidation among carriers throttled growth levels.

The consolidated net profit for the January-March period came in a tad higher at Rs 606 crore, from Rs 597 crore in the year-ago period. Quarterly consolidated revenue, in turn, rose 4% on a like-to-like basis to Rs 3,662 crore, the company said in a statement on Monday. Consolidated revenue for the full financial year ended March 2018 climbed 8% on-year to Rs 14,490 crore.

Bharti Infratel’s stock fell nearly 1% to close at Rs 328.40 on the BSE on Monday. The results were declared after market hours.

“The year gone by saw unprecedented consolidation in the telecom industry with five operators ceasing to exist either on account of mergers or outright shutdown of operations. Our company saw loss of 22,134 co-locations on this account during the year,” Akhil Gupta, chairman, Bharti Infratel, said in a statement.

But despite this, he said, Bharti Infratel’s “overall performance for the year against last year has been robust, which bears testimony to a sound business model and our leadership position”. Gupta, however, said rapidly growing data demand would drive large network rollouts, creating opportunities for tower companies.

“We are fully prepared to exploit this and meet all requirements of our customers for speedy rollouts.” In the run-up to the fourth quarter results, brokerage Morgan Stanley had reportedly said that Bharti Infratel is “best set to cash in on the boom in the telecom sector, amid consolidation and shutdowns”.

Nevertheless, in the January-March period alone, the telecom tower company lost as many as 7,880 co-locations, reducing its count to 2,05,596 as of March-end. Co-locations are points where a tower company deploys mobile telecom antennae of multiple carriers on a single structure. The exits reflected in a lower average sharing factor, which dropped to 2.30 from 2.38 in the December quarter, while sharing revenue per tower a month, in turn, fell on-quarter to Rs 79,861 from Rs 82,794. The tower arm of Bharti Airtel ended the March quarter with a total base of 91,451 towers, of which as many as 39,523 were its own. Its total tower base include its 42% stake in Indus Towers.

Bharti Infratel’s net finance costs, however, plunged 55% on-year to Rs 12.9 crore in the March quarter, also reflecting a near 75% sequential fall from Rs 51 crore in the December quarter. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) margin for the fourth quarter shrunk to 43.8% from 44.1% in the previous quarter.

Consolidated expenses for the March quarter totalled Rs 2,056.6 crore, up 6.24% on-year. The largest cost components were power & fuel (Rs 1,314.8 crore,) followed by rent (Rs 323 crore) and repairs & maintenance (Rs 217.9 crore). Bharti Infratel’s board of directors approved a final dividend of .`14 per equity share for the year ended March, the company said in a regulatory filing to BSE.
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