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Bharti Airtel benefits from rural push
|30 апреля 2009|
Bharti Airtel, India's largest mobile operator, shrugged off a slowing economy and a sharp increase in competition to report strong growth in the financial year to the end of March.
Bharti said net profit had risen 26 per cent from the previous year to Rs84.7bn ($1.7bn) and sales increased 37 per cent to Rs369.6bn as the company racked up record subscriber growth on the back of a push into rural areas.
"The India growth story continues, and we expect a revival of the economy in the second half of this fiscal year," said Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman and managing director.
Bharti's strong performance reflects the stunning growth of India's mobile market, which is adding more than 10m subscribers a month as operators seek customers beyond the cities in the vast hinterlands.
With calling rates as low as Rs1 per minute, Indian operators attract customers from all income levels.
The country had 392m mobile phone users at the end of March, second only to China.
Bharti's total subscribers rose 52 per cent against the previous year to 94m, while number-two operator Reliance Communications was 59 per cent higher at 73m and Vodafone Essar, which is ranked third, was up 57 per cent to 69m.
In the three months to March 31, Bharti reported net profit of Rs22.4bn, up 21 per cent from a year earlier, and revenue up 26 per cent to Rs98.25bn. The results exceeded a Reuters analyst poll, which had predicted net profit of Rs22.1bn.
Bharti's growth comes in spite of fierce competition. Reliance is offering heavily discounted rates on its new GSM (global system for mobile communications) network. Two international groups, Telenor of Norway and Japan's NTT DoCoMo, have joined a flood of market entrants. * China Unicom, the country's second-largest mobile operator, yesterday reported a net profit of Rmb3.57bn ($521m) and Rmb37.92bn in revenues for the first quarter, writes Kathrin Hille in Beijing .
The numbers indicate a slight drop in revenues from the first quarter of 2008, based on the combined operations of China Unicom and China Netcom, a fixed-line operator that it acquired late last year.
China Unicom did not provide a year-on-year comparison and said that China Netcom had not prepared financial information for the same period last year.
But China Unicom had reported Rmb2bn in net profit and Rmb25bn in revenues for the first quarter of 2008 while China Netcom had reported first-quarter revenue of Rmb20.05bn.
Analysts said the slide in combined revenues was likely to be the result of increased competition and a slowdown in China Netcom's fixed-line services.
Источник: Financial Times