Idea Cellular reports 13% drop in fourth quarter net profit

Telecom service provider Idea Cellular Ltd, an Aditya Birla group firm, has registered a 13 per cent drop in fiscal fourth quarter net profit, impacted by high interest costs on 3G investments and depreciation costs. The company, however, is planning a capital expenditure of Rs3,500 crore in the current financial year.

The GSM operator posted a net profit of Rs238.98 crore for the three-month period ended 31 March 2012, compared with Rs274.52 crore posted during the same period a year ago. The Mumbai-based firm's total income rose to Rs5,369.69 crore for the reporting quarter, a 26.8 per cent rise from Rs4,234.72 crore posted a year ago.

The fall in net profit was much in line with expectations and was mainly impacted due to high interest costs on 3G investments and depreciation costs, analysts said.

The company expects a capital expenditure of Rs3,500 crore in the financial year ending 31 March 2013, excluding any payment for spectrum, its chief financial officer Akshaya Moondra said.

''The uptrend of average revenues per minute (ARPM) was halted with decline in ARPM to 42.2 paise from 43.3 paise, a harsh reminder of the market place battle and overcapacity. While challenges on the voice ARPM continue, the company remains focused to improve non-voice revenue, which contributed 14.3 per cent of revenue in fourth quarter against 13.7 per cent last quarter,'' Idea Cellular said in a statement.

The standalone net profit for the quarter has improved to Rs201.6 crore on a sequential basis, but net profit for the year was lower at Rs603.6 crore, compared to Rs837.8 crore in FY11.