Telecom major Bharti Airtel’s Q1 profit came as a surprise to analysts who were expecting the company to post a loss in the quarter ended June. However, a one-time tax gain of Rs 515.6 crore helped the company post a profit of Rs 97.3 crore in the first quarter.
A Reuters poll of analysts had predicted a net loss of Rs 308 crore.
The profit, however, was 74% lower than the Rs 367 crore that was reported during the same period last year.
Airtel’s revenue fell 9% to Rs 20,080 crore, from the comparable quarter last year. While, India revenue fell 13% year-on-year. Revenue from India’s mobile services segment fell 19%.
However, the company saw a 11% growth in revenues from the digital TV services segment.
Total customer base for the company grew 20% to 4.56 billion, compared with 3.79 billion, last year.
Bharti Airtel’s dollar revenue from its Africa operations grew 14% to $794 million on a constant currency basis, from $697 million last year. This does not include the financials from its Ghana operations, which it divested last year, the company said in a statement.
The ongoing price war in the Indian telecom space, with Reliance Jio’s aggressively priced bundled plans, has taken a toll on the earnings of all telecom operators.
With the Department of Telecom giving its final nod to the Vodafone-Idea merger on Thursday, analysts say the combined entity will be in a position to take on Jio, possibly signaling the beginning of the end of the long-drawn price war which has left telecom operators bleeding.