Bharti Airtel reported a 72 percent decline in net income for the last quarter of 2012 – its twelfth straight quarterly profit decline – as the India-based mobile giant was hit by higher costs and ongoing pricing pressures.
Net income for the quarter ending 31 December fell to INR2.84 billion ($53 million) from INR10.11 billion a year ago. Sales were up 9.5 percent to INR202.4 billion.
Analysts had expected the company to report net profit of INR8.45 billion on revenue of INR202.79 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.
Profit was hit by higher depreciation costs, interest payments, forex losses and tax provisions.
“Market conditions have been challenging in recent quarters due to pricing pressures and rising input costs, which have put enormous pressure on the sector and consequently the margins,” said Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal.
“However, the worst seems to be getting over with corrections taking place in customer acquisition practices and the tariffs, which are driving quality of acquisitions and improving efficiencies,” he added.
The pressures in Airtel’s home market were offset slightly by the results from Africa. Airtel’s Africa revenues grew by 15 percent, supported by a 21 percent rise in mobile customers, a 42 percent rise in voice traffic, and non-voice revenue growth of 85 percent.
Airtel’s total customer base grew by 7.8 percent year-on-year to 262.3 million, but was down slightly on a sequential basis (-0.1 percent).
Mobile subscribers at the India and South Asia unit grew by 4.1 percent to 189.4 million, while Africa mobile subs rose to 61.7 million.