Reliance Communications Profit Beats Estimates on Phone Usage

Billionaire Chairman Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications Ltd. reported fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as revenue from use of its network increased.

Net income fell to 3.03 billion rupees ($55 million) in the three months through March from 3.32 billion rupees a year earlier, the Mumbai-based company said in a statement yesterday. Profit exceeded the 1.27 billion rupees median of 14 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

India’s third-largest mobile-phone company by market value added 1.6 million subscribers in February, the most since June 2011. The carrier signed a 12 billion-rupee deal last month with Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., a unit of Reliance Industries Ltd. controlled by Anil’s older brother Mukesh, providing Reliance Communications additional income. The two companies said more partnerships would follow.

“The rise in customers came at a time when Reliance desperately needed the new income,” Harit Shah, a Mumbai-based analyst at Nirmal Bang Equities Ltd., said before the earnings announcement. “This should provide some stability for the future which Reliance hasn’t enjoyed in a long time.”

The company has 7.2 million customers for its third-generation mobile data services, the most among Indian operators, it said. Call time on the wireless voice network increased to 105.4 billion minutes, a 2.3 percent gain from the previous quarter.

The company said separately that it repaid $500 million it borrowed in 2007.

Revenue in the quarter increased to 51.3 billion rupees from 50.1 billion rupees a year earlier. Finance costs increased to 7.47 billion rupees from 5.79 billion rupees.

Shares of Reliance Communications rose 0.5 percent to 110.30 rupees at the close in Mumbai yesterday, before the earnings announcement. They have gained 49 percent this year, compared with the 3.4 percent increase in the benchmark S&P BSE India Sensex.