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Bharti Airtel profit tanks 31 pc to Rs 2,072 cr as Nigerian Naira devaluation drags Q4 show

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New Delhi, May 14 (PTI) Telecom operator Bharti Airtel on Tuesday posted a 31 per cent drop in consolidated profit to Rs 2,072 crore in the March quarter mainly due to devaluation of the Nigerian Naira.

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The company had registered a profit of Rs 3,005.6 crore in the year-ago period.

The consolidated revenue of operations increased 4.4 per cent to Rs 37,599.1 crore during the quarter under review from Rs 36,009 crore a year earlier.

"Consolidated performance was impacted primarily by the devaluation of the Nigerian Naira. We added 7.8 million smartphone customers and delivered an industry leading ARPU of Rs 209," Bharti Airtel Managing Director Gopal Vittal said.

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Airtel suffered a forex loss of Rs 2,544.4 crore on account of currency devaluation.

During the reported quarter, the company acquired a 97.12 per cent stake in Beetel Teletech for Rs 658 crore.

For the year ended March 31, 2024, Bharti Airtel's profit dropped 10.5 per cent to Rs 7,467 crore.

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The annual revenue from operations of the company rose 7.7 per cent to Rs 1,49,982.4 crore during the reported fiscal from Rs 1,39,144.8 crore in 2022-23.

Bharti Airtel's capital expenditure was Rs 10,516 crore at the group level comprising Rs 8,491 crore for India during the March 2024 quarter.

India revenue of Bharti Airtel increased 12.9 per cent on a year-on-year (YoY) basis to Rs 28,513 crore on account of improved realisation as well as strong 4G and 5G customer additions during the year, but the revenue at a consolidated level were "impacted by devaluation of African currencies during the period particularly Nigerian Naira".

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The customer base in India grew 5 per cent to 35.22 crore from 34.55 crore on year-on-year basis.

Bharti Airtel's average revenue per user (ARPU) -- a key matrix of telecom operators growth -- grew 8 per cent to Rs 209 from Rs 193 a year ago.

On a sequential basis, the APRU was higher than Rs 208 in the December quarter.

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"We strengthened our leadership position in the postpaid segment with net adds of 0.8 million in the fourth quarter of FY24, thereby reaching a customer base of 51.2 million (including IoT).

"We continue to garner market share of 4G/5G customers and added 28.6 million 4G/5G data customers to our network over the last year, an increase of 12.8 per cent. We continue to deliver industry leading ARPU growth along with growing average data usage per customer," Vittal said.

The 4G and 5G data customer base of Bharti Airtel grew 12.8 per cent to 25.27 crore during the reported quarter, from 22.41 crore in the March 2023 quarter.

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The data usage per customer on Airtel's network grew 11.5 per cent to 22.6 GB from 20.3 GB on a year-on-year basis.

The consolidated net debt for the company, including the impact of leases, declined to Rs 2,04,646 crore as on March 31, 2024 from Rs 2,13,126.4 crore.

Last month, India's largest telecom operator Reliance Jio reported a 13 per cent year-on-year increase in standalone net profit to Rs 5,337 crore for the March quarter. Its revenue from operations had come in at Rs 25,959 crore, up 11 per cent over the year-ago period. PTI PRS MBI TRB

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