Troubled Indian operator Reliance Communications (RCom) posted a fiscal Q3 net loss of INR1.3 billion ($20.4 million), cut from an INR5.3 billion loss in the same period of 2016 and a loss of INR27.1 billion in the previous quarter.
Most of its losses for the three months to end-December 2017, the company said, were related to discontinued operations. If these are excluded, RCom would have posted a small profit of INR270 million for its fiscal Q3.
The company is in the process of exiting the fiercely competitive consumer segment to focus on its B2B and wholesale business units. This move, its president of telecoms business Punit Garg told the BusinessLine newspaper, would push Rcom back into the black and create a company “without any luggage”.
Its bottom line in fiscal Q4 will also be helped by the completion of the sale of RCom’s tower assets, spectrum and other infrastructure to rival Reliance Jio. The sale is slated for completion by March 2018 subject to regulatory approvals.
RCom chairman Anil Ambani said: “Rcom’s planned exit from the consumer business has achieved more than the desired results. RCom has reduced its net loss by over 95 per cent. RCom expects to deliver even better financial performance in the coming quarters”.
Rcom’s exit from the consumer sector comes amid cut-throat competition in the Indian wireless market sparked by plummeting prices, the continued impact of newcomer Reliance Jio and collapse of the operator’s long-vaunted proposed merger with Aircel.
During the last six months of 2017, RCom also faced bankruptcy petitions from China Development Bank (CDB) and Ericsson to recover a combined debt of INR126 billion. CDB since withdrew its complaint, while Ericsson vowed to press-on to reclaim the INR11.56 billion it said it is owed.