While its operations in India deteriorated, underlining local pressures, African operations across Nigeria and 13 other countries continued to improve.
In Africa, Bharti Airtel’s profit expanded to ₹698.70 crore ($104.4 million) for the quarter ended March 2018 from ₹26.30 crore ($3.93 million) a year ago, helped by growth in data consumption. The company’s Africa revenue climbed 1.5 per cent to ₹4,971.3 crore ($742.8 million) in the three-month period, aided by currency stabilisation across countries.
Nigeria is Airtel’s most profitable market, followed by Ghana. As at end of last year, Airtel has 78 million subscribers in the continent. It currently controls 26 per cent market share in Nigeria and services 38.3 million subscribers.
According to Naveen Kulkarni of PhillipCapital, India, “Airtel’s net income from Africa operations largely helped offset the net loss that the company’s India business suffered in the March quarter. This helped Airtel report a consolidated net profit in the fiscal fourth quarter,” said.
The fourth quarter profit makes it the first full year of profits for Airtel’s African operations, a complete turnaround from previous years where the operations showed consistent and mounting losses.
Managing Director of Africa, Raghunath Mandava, said Airtel Africa’s data traffic grew 88 per cent and voice minutes increased by 37 per cent. “We continue to focus on expanding our revenue base, underpinned by strong investments in networks, and contain costs,” Mandava said.
Bharti Airtel’s India operations reported their first net loss in almost 15 years in the fourth quarter of 2017-18 and joined Idea Cellular and Vodafone India in the red, as Reliance Jio-led low tariffs and a cut in international termination rates (ITR) took toll on the India’s largest telco.
Net loss, before exceptional items, for the India business in the three months ended March 31, 2018, stood at ₹652.30 crore ($97.4 million), compared with a net profit of ₹770.80 crore a year earlier, the Sunil Mittal-led telco said in a statement on Tuesday.
The company, according to Economic Times of India, eked out a net profit of ₹83 crore on a consolidated basis — also its lowest in nearly one-and-a-half decades — in the just-ended quarter, a 78 per centyear-on-year drop, thanks largely to its Africa operations which clocked a profit of ₹698.70 crore ($104.7 million).
Meanwhile, Airtel Nigeria commemorated the 2018 World Book Day with public primary school pupils across different locations in the country with the donation of 5000 books and hosting of book-reading sessions.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, flagged-off the initiative on April 23rd, with an interactive session with primary four and five students of one of the company’s Adopted schools, Oremeji Primary School 2, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Ajegunle, Lagos.
During the session, Ogunsanya shared stories to inspire the kids, hold a reading session that will have many of the kids as active participants and donate reading books to the children to instill and encourage a culture of reading.
Airtel says the book reading sessions and book donation exercises will also hold in different locations across the country.
The book reading and donation sessions took on April 25 in Kaduna; April 27 in Abuja; May 8, in Anambra and May 10 in Kwara State.
Commenting on the World Book Day Initiative, Airtel’s Director of Corporate Communications and CSR, Emeka Oparah, said the company is committed to supporting underprivileged children and creating platforms that will inspire young Nigerians to succeed.
“We believe in investing in young Nigerians as they are our future leaders. The World Book Day provides a fine opportunity for us to support underprivileged children and inspire them to read and do so much more. We are confident that with the right support young Nigerians will do well,” he said.