Bharti Airtel Q4 net profit up 21 per cent

Bharti Airtel Ltd reported a 21 per cent increase in its net profit to Rs2,239 crore for the fourth quarter ended 31 March 31, compared with Rs1,853 crore for the same quarter last year. It saw the highest ever net additions in a single quarter with 83 lakh new subscribers during the Jan-March period.

The company said it plans to invest $3 billion during 2009-10. 

Total revenues increased 26 per cent to Rs9,825 crore from Rs7,819 crore. The company declared its maiden dividend of 20 per cent of face value for the year. Further, the company has proposed sub-division of existing equity shares of Rs10 each into two equity shares of Rs5 each. 

The average revenue per user (ARPU) for its mobile services declined 15 per cent from Rs 324 a month in March 2008 to Rs 305 in March 2009. Its ARPU is, however, higher than the industry average of Rs 220 a month. Minutes of usage have increased from 89,058 million in March 2008 to 1,30,669 million by March 2009. Total subscriber base has grown from 64.2 million to 96.6 million.

The company declared a dividend of Rs2 per share of the face value of Rs10 each.

Commenting on the financial results announced in New Delhi on Wednesday, Bharti Airtel chairman and managing director Sunil Mittal said India's largest mobile operator saw its highest-ever net addition of 3.24 crore subscribers last fiscal with the customer base reaching 9.66 crore as of March-end. Airtel now enjoys the leading market share of 24 per cent against last year's 23.7 per cent.

''Our focus on rural penetration and customer affordability has been instrumental in delivering this strong growth. The India growth story continues and we expect revival of the economy in the second half of this fiscal. I have no doubt that the telecom sector will lead the economic revival and Bharti Airtel will be at the forefront,'' Mittal said.

About future plans, chief executive officer Manoj Kohli said the company had earmarked a capital expenditure of $3 billion for infrastructure and tower businesses for the current fiscal, while separate plans were being chalked out for the expansion of next generation 3G services.