The 2020 fourth quarter fiscal report of Indian telecom giant, Bharti Airtel, ending March 31, 2021 indicate the company is back to making profit.
The company saw a net profit of US$103.9 million at the end of the period, compared with a loss of US$32.94 million in fiscal Q4 2019. Meanwhile, revenue grew 11.9 per cent to US$3.534 billion.
This was driven by double-digit mobile subscriber gains, even though ARPU (average revenue per user) dropped.
MD and CEO for India and South Asia at Airtel, Gopal Vittal said the company also saw significant growth in mobile revenue through LTE additions and momentum in its home broadband business.
He added the enterprise segment delivered double-digit growth and its digital assets continued to scale, saying “we are beginning to see strong traction in monetization of these assets.”
In India, Airtel realized an 8.6 per cent jump in mobile services revenue to US$1.44 billion, which drove its overall sales in that country to US$2.52 billion, up 9.6 per cent.
Broadband service rose 5 per cent to US$82.35 million, while digital TV revenue shot up 27 per cent to US$105.7 million and enterprise revenue grew 10 per cent to US$50.8 million; but ARPU fell 5.8 cent to just about US$2.
Meanwhile, mobile subscribers increased 13.1 per cent to 350 million; LTE customers increased by 43 million to reach a total of 179.3 million, and average monthly data usage (AMDA) per customer increased 12.5 per cent to 16.8GB.
It closed the quarter with nearly 607,000 mobile broadband base stations, which 103,000 more than the same period last year.
In Africa revenue increased 22 per cent to US$1.1 billion, fuelled by a 31.7 per cent rise in data revenue to $322 million. ARPU grew 12.4 per cent to $3.00. Mobile subscribers rose 6.9 per cent to 118.2 million. Average data usage increased 35 per cent to 2.9GB a month.
Mobile money transaction value increased 59.2 per cent to $12.8 billion, with Airtel Money revenue growing 38.7 per cent to $112 million and active users up 18.5 per cent to 21.7 million.
Capex fell 4 per cent to $211 million. It added about 29,500 mobile broadband base stations to end March with 76,563.
It would be recalled that Bharti Airtel and Millicom International Cellular sold off their joint venture, AirtelTigo, in Ghana to the government for a reported US$1 with its heavy liabilities.
Each of the two companies reported making US$25 million from the sale but the Ghana government said it paid only US$1 for the assets and “agreed liabilities” of the join venture, excluding liabilities incurred by the two separate parties ahead of the merger.
Millicom was the first to report going back to profits after selling off all of its operations in Africa to concentrate on Latin America. And now Bharti is also reporting profits after offloading some liabilities.