Bharti Surges as Revenue Beats Analyst Estimates

Bharti Airtel Ltd., India’s largest mobile-phone operator, surged the most in more than a month in Mumbai trading after posting sales that beat analyst estimates.

The stock rose 5.5 percent to 360 rupees at the close of Mumbai trading, the biggest jump since Sept. 10. Revenue rose 9.9 percent to 213.2 billion rupees ($3.5 billion) in the three months ended Sept. 30, New Delhi-based Bharti said in a statement today. That beat the 209.3 billion-rupee median of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Billionaire Chairman Sunil Mittal’s carrier benefited from a gain in subscribers, especially in Africa where net revenue in dollar terms increased 6.2 percent from a year earlier. The carrier increased its market share in India to 28.5 percent last quarter, widening its lead over Vodafone Group Plc’s unit, which had 22.9 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Africa did better than expected, it’s the clear revenue driver for Bharti this quarter,” said Harit Shah, a Mumbai-based analyst with Nirmal Bang Equities Ltd. “Expectations were flattish and they came up pretty big, which will continue to support the company’s growth going forward.”

Growth in Africa along with an increase in data consumption in India, the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market, helped Bharti boost global sales in a traditionally soft quarter for Indian operators, Shah said. Data accounted for 9.2 percent of mobile revenue in India, up from 5.2 percent a year earlier, as traffic volume on the network more than doubled to 33.6 billion megabytes, according to the statement.

Mobile Engine

“Mobile Internet is now a major engine of growth for Airtel across all geographies,” Mittal said in the statement. “The revenue growth in Africa reflects the inherent potential in the world’s most promising continent.”

Net income in the period fell 29 percent to 5.12 billion rupees as the rupee’s decline led to foreign exchange losses, Bharti said. Profit trailed the 7.9 billion-rupee median of 31 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Bharti had a currency-related loss of 3.42 billion rupees in the quarter, it said.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.