A 62 per cent jump in mobile data revenue across all regions and a return to double-digit growth in its home market helped Bharti Airtel more than double its net profit last quarter.
The company’s net income jumped 135 per cent to INR14.36 billion ($232 million), while revenue increased 5.8 per cent to INR232 billion in its fiscal Q3 ending 31 December.
Mobile data revenue hit INR28.7 billion and accounted for 85 per cent of its revenue growth.
Airtel operates in 20 countries and is the largest mobile player in India with more than 217 million connections, up 9.4 per cent from a year ago. It claims its overall mobile customer base increased 9 per cent to almost 300 million.
India led the company’s growth, with overall revenue increasing 12.6 per cent to INR162 billion – its strongest growth in nine quarters. ARPU was up 4 per cent to INR202 ($3.30).
Mobile data revenue increased 74.3 per cent to INR21.1 billion, as usage per customer rose 38 per cent and its data customer base expanded 32 per cent. Mobile data now accounts for 16 per cent of India’s total revenue, up from 10.6 per cent a year ago. Data ARPU moved up 2.5 per cent to INR170 ($2.75).
Revenue from its digital TV service increased 16 per cent to INR6.23 billion as the customer base expanded 11.4 per cent to 9.8 million.
Revenue in Africa, where it has operations in 17 countries, was down 5.3 per cent to $1.1 billion due to the rise of the US dollar – in local currency terms, sales grew 3.9 per cent. ARPU fell 12 per cent to $5.10, but monthly churn dropped to 5.5 per cent from 6.7 per cent at the end of 2013.
A 38 per cent jump in data connections in Africa drove a 35 per cent increase in data revenue to $116 million. Data accounted for 10.5 per cent of revenue, compared with 7.5 per cent in the same period in 2013.
Its Airtel Money service user base in Africa expanded 125 per cent to 6.2 million during the quarter from a year ago, and the value of transactions jumped 71 per cent to $2.93 billion.
Its operations in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka saw revenue fall 15 per cent to INR3.78 billion. Mobile connections also fell 6 per cent to 7.89 million.
Its tower unit, Bharti Infratel, posted a 23 per cent increase in its profit during the quarter to INR5.08 billion, while revenue grew 9 per cent to INR29.49 billion.
Airtel’s capex expanded 60 per cent to INR45 billion year-on-year. Capex in India increased 56 per cent to INR27 billion, while capex doubled in Africa to INR17.5 billion. Overall operating expenses rose 4 per cent to INR154 billion.
The company’s EBIDTA increased 10 per cent to INR77.8 billion, while its EBIDTA margin was up 1.1 points to 33.5 per cent.