Bharti Falls After Missing Profit Estimates on Africa

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Bharti Airtel Ltd. fell the most in a month after saying quarterly profit missed estimates because of currency depreciations in several African nations where it does business.

Shares dropped 3.3 percent, the most since March 27, to 387.35 rupees in Mumbai after India’s biggest wireless carrier reported net income of 12.6 billion rupees ($199 million) in the quarter ended March. That compared with the 14.8 billion-rupee median of analysts’ estimates.

Billionaire Sunil Bharti Mittal’s overseas operations suffered from plummeting currencies in Nigeria, Zambia and other African nations, crimping growth as he faces higher costs for airwaves in the world’s second-largest nation. Bharti is selling transmission towers across Africa and seeking more favorable tax rules to reduce costs.

“The currency devaluation is beyond their control,” said Rishi Tejpal, an analyst with Gartner Inc. in New Delhi. “But the overall revenue coming from Africa is showing signs of improvement, especially in data since they’ve invested so much in 3G.”

Revenue in Africa fell 12 percent to 62.2 billion rupees in the latest quarter from 70.6 billion rupees in the year-earlier period, New Delhi-based Bharti said Tuesday.

“Africa, being a commodity heavy-continent, witnessed sharp depreciation in currencies across various countries,” Bharti said.

Rising Revenue

Tower sales in 12 African nations are progressing, and the carrier plans capital expenditures of as much as $800 million on the continent this year, Chief Financial Officer Srikanth Balachandran said on a conference call Wednesday.

Bharti plans to spend as much as $3 billion in capital expenditures globally this year.

Last quarter’s total profit of 12.6 billion rupees, or 3.14 rupees per shares, rose from 9.6 billion rupees, or 2.41 per share, a year earlier.

Sales increased to 230.2 billion rupees in the three months ended March from 222.2 billion rupees a year earlier, Bharti said. That compared with the 236.6 billion-rupee median of 18 analysts’ estimates.

In India, average revenue per user rose 1 percent from a year ago to 198 rupees.

A Bharti competitor, Idea Cellular Ltd., reported net income Tuesday that beat analyst estimates. Quarterly profit was 9.42 billion rupees, compared with an estimated 8.31 billion rupees.

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