A telecom tower. (Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg)

Q4 Results: Bharti Infratel Posts Surprise Decline In Profit

Bharti Infratel Ltd. reported a surprise fall in profit in the quarter ended March as exit of two key tenants—Vodafone India Ltd. and Idea Cellular Ltd.—after their merger weighed on the telecom tower company’s financials.

Net profit fell 6.1 percent sequentially to Rs 608 crore, according to its exchange filing. Analyst estimates compiled by BloombergQuint had pegged the profit at Rs 651 crore.

  • Revenue fell 1.1 percent quarter-on-quarter to Rs 3,600 crore.
  • Operating profit rose 1.4 percent to Rs 1,534 crore.
  • Margin expanded 110 basis points to 42.6 percent.

Bharti Infratel had settled tower exit charge claims with Vodafone and Idea in the previous quarter. That had aided the financials for the October-December period. The company had earlier said it expected a monthly loss of Rs 60 crore due to the exit of Vodafone and Idea.

“The year gone by saw major consolidation in the Indian telecom industry with four operators ceasing to exist either on account of mergers or outright shutdown of operations,” said Chairman Akhil Gupta in a media statement. “Between Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers, about 20 percent of opening co-locations were lost during the year translating to nearly 75,000 co-locations on an overall basis and 40,000 co-locations on consolidated basis, mainly due to merger of Vodafone and Idea.”

The number of telecom operators per tower, or the tenancy ratio, declined further to 1.88 times. The ratio fell below 2 times for the first time since financial year 2014-15.

Other Highlights

  • In absolute terms, the company’s total tower base reduced by 24 to 92,277 at the end of the quarter.
  • Total co-locations declined by 1,725 to 1.72 lakh.
  • The management said merger process of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers is on track and it may be completed in the next few months.
  • The board declared second interim dividend of Rs 7.5 apiece.

Shares of Bharti Infratel closed 2.4 percent higher ahead of the results, compared with a 1.27 percent rise in the benchmark BSE Sensex.