Bharti Airtel Ltd., India’s largest mobile-phone operator, posted profit that missed analyst estimates after customers spent less time talking on the company’s network and interest costs climbed.
Net income fell 29 percent to 5.12 billion rupees ($83 million) in the three months ended September from 7.21 billion rupees a year earlier, New Delhi-based Bharti said today in a statement. That trailed the 7.9 billion-rupee median of 31 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Billionaire Chairman Sunil Mittal’s flagship company saw subscriber call minutes drop, resulting in the 15th consecutive quarterly decline in profit, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Nationwide, gross customer additions have fallen 66 percent to 33 million, eroding revenue at carriers even as call rates rise, according to Praveen Menon and John Butler, analysts at Bloomberg Industries.
“There will be hiccups when margins in India fall during difficult quarters or volatility strains African business,” Harit Shah, a Mumbai-based analyst with Nirmal Bang Equities, said before the announcement. “This happened to be one of those soft quarters in India. It will get better, soon.”
Revenue rose to 213.2 billion rupees from 194 billion rupees, beating the 209.3 billion-rupee median of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.