Sistema Shyam pares losses, but revenues plunge

Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd (SSTL), which provides CDMA services under the MTS brand in India, has pared losses to Rs844.7 crore in the second quarter ended 30 June, compared with a net loss of Rs1,180 crore during the comparable period a year ago.

However, revenues of the Indian arm of the Russian conglomerate Sistema fell 30 per cent to Rs290.9 crore during the quarter under review, compared with Rs417.7 crore posted during the same period a year ago.

This was largely driven by closure of circles, it said in a statement. SSTL is an unlisted company in India.

SSTL's 22 licences were cancelled by the Supreme Court on 2 February 2012. The company had won back eight of its licences during the March 2013 spectrum auction, and along with an existing circle (Rajasthan), now has presence across nine circles in the country.

The company's nine circles are Delhi, Kolkata, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh (West) and West Bengal.

Its revenues in the nine circles rose 2.4 per cent Q-o-Q. However, consolidated revenues fell by 17 per cent (QoQ) to Rs 290.9 crore due to reduction of footprint.

The company's non-voice revenues contributed 34.4 per cent of the total quarterly revenues.

SSTL's blended mobile average revenue per user (ARPU) for the quarter increased by 9 per cent to Rs89 on account of elimination of impact of lower ARPU of exit circles. ARPU is a metric to measure the financial health of a telecom company.

Minutes of usage rose by 11 per cent to 328 during the quarter (QoQ).

''We continue to invest in our business to further strengthen our data offerings,'' Dmitry Shukov, chief executive of SSTL, said.

SSTL's mobile subscriber base declined by 19 per cent (QoQ) and reached 9.8 million customers as of 30 June 2013.

The minutes of usage (or MoUs, another financial metric) of SSTL's mobile subscribers improved to 328 minutes during Q2 of 2013 from 295 minutes in Q1 of 2013.

''Going forward, the challenge is to bring the company back on its high growth path by efficiently investing in the business,'' Sergey Savchenko, chief financial officer of SSTL, said.