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Airtel consolidated 4Q profit falls 78%

Bharti Airtels fourth-quarter net profit slumped 78%, dropping for the eighth straight quarter, stung by a mix of continued pricing aggression from Reliance Jio, a cut in international termination rates and more subscribers rapidly moving to lower priced bundled packs.

The country's largest carrier however reported a loss of Rs 652.3 crore in its operations in India and South Asia, before exceptional items, for the quarter ended March 2018 – for the first time in 15 years – even as Africa operations showed a profit of Rs 698.7 crore.

Overall, the carrier's profit fell to Rs 83 crore in the three months ended March from Rs 373.4 crore a year earlier, the Sunil Mittal-led telco, 39.5% owned by SingTel, said in a statement Tuesday. The average profit estimated in an ET poll of analysts was Rs 1.4 crore. The companys profit in the October-December period was Rs 306 crore.

The average profit estimated in an ET poll of analysts was Rs 1.4 crore on revenue of Rs19,846 crore.

Consolidated revenue fell 5.4% on-year to Rs 19,634 crore as data and voice rates fell. It was Rs 21,777 crore in the quarter ended September.

In India operations specifically, revenue for the quarter fell 13% on-year to Rs 14,795 crore while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell by 22% to Rs 5,237.2 crore. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) fell by 61% to Rs 1,013 crore, and operating free cash flow showed a sharper decline of 84% to Rs 615 crore for quarter ended March 2018.

“The telecom industry continues to witness below cost, artificially suppressed pricing. Industry revenues were further adversely impacted this quarter due to the reduction in international termination rates,” Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO, India & South Asia at Airtel, said in the statement.

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