Airtel's Africa ops net loss widens to Rs 520 cr

Airtel's Africa ops net loss widens to Rs 520 cr New Delhi: Telecom giant Bharti Airtel Friday said net loss from African operations has widened to Rs 520 crore in October-December 2012 quarter from Rs 260 crore in the same period a year ago.

"The market in Africa is softer than we expected originally... The market at that time was growing at about 13 percent and in the last year or two, the market is actually growing in single digits of about 8-9 percent," Bharti Airtel CEO (International) and Joint M D Manoj Kohli told reporters here.

Its total revenues from Africa in the quarter under review rose by over 15 percent to Rs 6,170 crore in rupee terms from Rs 5,360 crore in the same period last fiscal.

Asked about plans to achieve the target of USD 5 billion in revenue from its Africa operations, Kohli said, "We are in the process of finalising our plans for next year. I think by end of February we will share with you."

The company in 2011 had said that it expects to touch USD 5 billion in revenues by March, 2013.

The company had 61,687 million customers at the end of December in Africa while the average revenue per user (ARPU) stood at USD 6.2.

The company added 3 million customers during the quarter and minutes on the network grew by 2.5 billion.

Overall, Bharti Airtel's net profit has declined for the 12th straight quarter due to to high interest costs, forex fluctuation and tax provisions.

During the quarter under review, Bharti Airtel incurred a capital expenditure of Rs 867.1 crore on its African operations.

PTI