Bharti Tele-Ventures trims loss in third quarter

Tuesday, 21 January 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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Bharti Tele-Ventures, a leading private firm in India's booming telecom market, Monday said its October-December quarterly loss contracted 83 percent from a year-ago period on a rising customer base.

NEW DELHI: The net loss of the company, which is the country's biggest mobile phone services provider, in the third quarter of 2002-03 fell to 70 million - a sixth of the 420 million in the same period the previous year, said a Bharti statement issued here. Total income of the company doubled to 8.47 billion in the third quarter, registering a growth of 103 percent over the same period previous year. Bharti, which counts Singtel, Warburg Pincus and New York Life among its investors, managed to pare its loss on the back of a 148-percent jump in the subscribers' base for mobile and fixed-line services in the October-December quarter last year. "We are committed to provide the best value to our customers and investors by enhancing operational efficiencies and by leveraging our economies of scale," said Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Tele-Ventures. "We have been able to contain our expenses to the level of the previous quarter and hence significantly improve our profitability to bring about a sequential reduction of 95 percent in our net losses," he added. Bharti began as a maker of conventional telephones and now ranks among the leading communications companies in India, with a major presence in mobile, fixed-line and broadband services. Its cellular phone subscriber base grew a whopping 150 percent to 2.8 million in the quarter ended December 31, 2002, while fixed-line customers grew 128 percent to 317,220 in the same period. Bharti offers mobile telephone services in 15 of India's 22 telecom circles. Mobile services contribute the largest chunk of its revenue. It has also made an aggressive foray recently in national long distance, overseas phone services and Internet access after the government liberalised the telecom sector for private players. Bharti said the rapid expansion with the rollout of 16 new projects in the last few months has provided it with a high share of customers in its mobile and fixed-line operations. Only three percent of India's one billion people have telephones but the number of subscribers is expected to double in five years, with even faster growth for mobile phones, a booming industry that currently has over 10 million users. Reacting to the result, shares of Bharti Tele-Ventures closed with a sharp gain of 16.32 percent at 24.95 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Source: IANS

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