Airtel net profit up nearly 8 percent (Lead)

New Delhi, April 29 (Inditop) Telecom major Bharti Airtel’s net profit for the quarter ended March 31 rose nearly 8 percent to Rs.20.48 billion, as compared to Rs.18.99 billion in the same period the previous year.

Total income too increased about 30 percent to Rs.102.96 billion from Rs.79.29 billion in the period under review, the company said Wednesday.

The group’s net profit increased about 23 percent to Rs.78.59 billion for the year ended March 31, 2009, as compared to Rs.63.9 billion the previous fiscal, while total income surged over 37 percent to Rs.375.04 billion from Rs.272.9 billion.

The telecom major announced a dividend of 20 percent for the first time.

“Bharti Airtel has had an excellent year with a revenue growth of 37 percent. Our focus on rural penetration and customer affordability has been instrumental in delivering this strong growth,” said company chairman and managing director Sunil Bharti Mittal.

Bharti Airtel has earmarked $2 billion for capital expenditure, which, however, excludes the 3G and tower businesses. It has set aside $1 billion for the tower business that includes wholly-owned Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers, in which it has 42 percent stake.

The company said it had 96.6 million subscribers as of March 31, an increase in the total subscriber base of 50 percent or about 32.4 million subscribers from that on the same date last year.

The Bharti Airtel scrip, which touched a high of Rs.751.30 soon after opening at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), settled at a level just above its last closing figure of Rs.725.70 around noon.

The company also announced a stock split, dividing existing equity shares of Rs.10 face value into two equity shares of Rs.5.