Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel has reported consolidated total revenue of INR807.8 billion (USD11.57 billion) for the full year ended 31 March 2019 – down 2.2% year-on-year – whilst turnover for its fourth quarter was up 6.2% compared to March 2018, at INR206.0 billion. For the full year, Airtel attributes the decline to a 6.6% fall in revenue from its domestic unit, which was only partially offset by growth of 11.7% across its African footprint. EBITDA for the full year was down 13.6% to INR262.9 billion, whilst net profit fell by 62.7% to INR4.1 billion. EBITDA for the quarter stood at INR68.1 billion, a decrease of 3.2% y-o-y, whilst net profit after exceptional items grew to INR1.1 billion. Airtel notes that it had an exceptional gain of INR13.0 billion in the three-month period due to ‘credit pertaining to re-assessment of levies,’ based on a recent announcement regarding how such levies are determined.
The group counted a total of 384.078 million mobile subscribers at the end of March 2019, including 282.640 million in India (down 7.1% y-o-y), 2.587 million in South Asia (+14.1%) and 98.851 million across its 14 African markets (up 10.7%). The group attributed the decline in its Indian user base in part to a reclassification of pre-paid subscribers to reflect only customers that generated revenue – i.e. removing ‘incoming only’ users, that utilise their line only to receive calls. The more stringent definition better indicates the company’s operating performance, the cellco added. The change helped bolster monthly blended ARPU at its domestic unit from INR116 to INR123. The company also recorded a total of 86.808 million 4G subscribers in India, out of a total 115.147 million data users – up from 47.862 million and 86.077 million respectively in March 2018.