Mobile phone telecommunications towers. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Q3 Results: Bharti Infratel’s Profit Beats Estimates On Exit Fee, Lower Costs

Bharti Infratel Ltd.’s third-quarter profit beat estimates as Vodafone India Ltd. and Idea Cellular Ltd. paid exit charges for cutting down on overlapping towers after their merger in August. Lower energy and operating costs and higher rental fee also helped.

Net profit gained 8 percent sequentially to Rs 648 crore in the December quarter, according to the company’s exchange filing. That’s compares with BloombergQuint’s estimate of Rs 554 crore. The company received nearly Rs 55 crore as exit charges during the quarter due to tenancy cancellations. The company had earlier said it expects a monthly loss of Rs 60 crore due to the Vodafone-Idea merger.

“Tower tenancy exits won’t stop until the quarter ending March which is when the consolidation in the telecom sector is expected to be completed,” said a Bloomberg Intelligence report prior to the earnings announcement.

Also, the number of telecom operators per tower (tenancy ratio) declined to 1.89 times. The ratio fell below 2 times for the first time since financial year 2014-15.

The tower operator’s revenue remained flat at Rs 3,640 crore in the October-December period—also in line with the Rs 3,541 crore estimate. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation also remained unchanged at Rs 1,513 crore. Operating margin, too, remained flat at 41 percent.

Shares of the company fell 0.2 percent ahead of the earnings compared with a 0.84 percent fall in the NSE Nifty 50 Index.