Idea Cellular Q1 net profit up 32 pct, lags estimates

Idea Cellular has posted a 32 per cent rise in consolidated net profit to Rs234.1 crore in first quarter ended 30 June, but lagged analysts' expectations on higher costs and interests, while the currency depreciation also had its impact. The GSM operator had posted a net profit of Rs1,77.3 crore posted during the same period a year ago.

The Aditya Birla group firm has posted revenues of Rs 5,503.7 crore on a consolidated basis, a 21.74-per cent rise from Rs4,520.7 crore recorded during the same quarter of previous financial year.

Idea Cellular's revenue performance of last two quarters has slowed down on sequential quarterly basis to 2.5 per cent growth, following the introduction of 'Telecom Consumer Protection Regulation' from 22 March 2012, and ''grim market battle for supremacy'', it said in a statement.

''The above is primarily due to slide in 'average realisation per minute' (ARPM) by 2.3 per cent to 41.2 paise in comparison to 42.2 paise in Q4 FY12, suggesting the industry growth is likely to be muted in the first half of this financial year,'' it said.

''Also the impact of sharp currency depreciation is reflected in interest and finance cost with a forex loss of Rs245 million (Rs 24.5 crore) in this quarter compared to a forex gain of Rs 135 million in Q4FY12,'' it added.

The analysts on an average were expecting the company to post a net profit of Rs 300 crore.

The numbers include the financials of Indus Towers, a telecom tower infrastructure firm, in which Idea Cellular holds a 16 percent stake. Idea Cellular, in which Malaysia's Axiata owns a fifth stake, has posted a standalone net profit of Rs 1,981 million for the quarter.