Idea Cellular posts 91.4% rise in net profit

Idea Cellular has posted a 91.4-per cent rise in consolidated net profit to Rs589.77 crore during the fourth quarter ended 31 March 2014, led by an ''exponential'' growth in data.

On a comparative basis, the GSM operator posted a net profit of Rs308.18 crore during the same period a year ago.

The Aditya Birla Group's consolidated revenue rose 16 per cent to Rs7,043.8 crore from the same period a year ago.

Analysts on an average were expecting the company to post a net profit of Rs 520 crore.

On a sequential basis, Idea Cellular's net profit rose 26 per cent over the third quarter, while revenue was up 6.5 per cent.

''The 6.5 per cent sequential quarterly revenue growth is driven by sharp expansion of voice minutes at 8.6 per cent to 157.1 billion minutes and mobile data volume (2G+3G) growth at 31 per cent to 27.3 billion MB,'' said Himanshu Kapania, managing director at Idea Cellular.

''This indicates a strong consumer demand for Idea mobile telephony,'' Kapania added.

For the financial year ended 31 March 2013, Idea Cellular's consolidated net profit jumped 94.65 per cent to Rs1,967.82 crore, compared with Rs1,010.93 crore posted during the 12-month period a year ago.

Idea Cellular total subscriber stood at 13.79 crore by the end of March 31 2014.

In the March quarter, Idea Cellular's average revenue per user (ARPU), a key financial metric, rose to Rs173 from Rs169 in the preceding quarter. However, its average realisation per MB fell sharply by 4.3 paise to 25.3 paise, ''a harsh reminder of market place battle''.

CAPEX of Rs3,500 crore
Idea Cellular has earmarked a capex of Rs3,500 crore for network and 3G services in this financial year, similar to its spend in FY14.

Idea launched 3,178 2G cell sites and 1,477 3G cell sites during the fourth quarter of the last fiscal, taking the network site count for 2G to 104,778 and 21,381 for 3G sites.

In the spectrum auction held in February, the company won 5 MHz spectrum in 900 MHz band in Delhi telecom circle. The company also got approvals to start 3G services in Punjab, while it is gearing up to launch 3G services in the national capital in this financial year, Kapania added.

On Monday, shares in Idea Cellular closed up 0.18 per cent at Rs 40.75 apiece on BSE, much ahead of the results announcement.