Airtel's Q3 net profit below estimates; slips 1.5%

Bharti Airtel, the country's largest telecom service provider by customers, today posted a net profit of Rs1,027 crore for the December quarter, a 1.5 per cent decline quarter-on-quarter.

The performance was way below analysts' expectations. Bloomberg, for instance, had predicted as much as a 43-per cent rise in profit quarter-on-quarter at Rs1,467 crore.

The company contributed the fall to high interest charges and costs related to the roll-out of its 3G network, as well as a higher tax provisioning in the quarter. The tax rate was at 32.5 per cent year-to-date.

This is the eighth straight quarter for which Bharti has reported a decline in net profit.

Shares of the telco reacted to the results and declined 4 per cent to Rs 366.30.

The Sunil Bharti Mittal-led company in an earnings statement said the roll-out of its 3G network resulted in a higher amortisation cost of Rs164 crore for the quarter, while its net interest cost rose to Rs116 crore during the quarter.