Bharti Infratel posted an 11 percent rise in consolidated net profit at Rs 648 crore for the December quarter. The company said the consolidation phase in the Indian telecom industry along with exits of co-locations (exit of tenants from common mobile towers) is largely over. Bharti Infratel added that it remains upbeat about growth prospects fuelled by the next round of network expansion by operators, for both 4G services and the rapidly-evolving 5G.
“Despite major co-location exits in the quarter and during the year due to consolidation in the telecom industry, the company has been able to achieve net profit and operating free cash flow growth of 11 percent and 13 percent respectively on Y-o-Y (year-on-year) basis,” it said in a statement. Consolidated revenues, however, marginally dropped to Rs 3640 crore, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) came in at Rs 1513 crore, 6 percent lower than the year-ago period.
Bharti Infratel Chairman Akhil Gupta noted that the consolidation and integration phase in the Indian telecom industry along with exits of co-locations is largely over. “We are now looking at the next phase of network and related infrastructure rollouts by operators – first for 4G and subsequently for rapidly evolving 5G, to cater to ever-growing demand for data. These would require large investments, thereby presenting the potential for sizeable growth for passive infrastructure companies going forward,” Gupta said. Last year, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone Group announced an agreement for the merger of Indus Towers and Bharti Infratel to create the largest mobile tower operator in the world outside China with over 163,000 towers across 22 telecom service areas. The combined company, which will fully own the respective businesses of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers, will change its name to Indus Towers Ltd and continue to be listed on Indian stock exchanges. The combined company will own 100 percent of Indus Towers. Indus Towers is currently jointly owned by Bharti Infratel (42 percent holding), Vodafone (42 percent), Idea Group (11.15 percent) and Providence (4.85 percent). Post the deal, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone will jointly control the combined company.―Millennium Post