Bharti Airtel has announced some of its worst-ever earnings. [GRFX IN] India’s biggest telecom company reported a 31.5% drop in fourth quarter profits to Rs 1,400 crore. That fall occurred despite a 51% revenue growth to Rs 16,266.
The increase in revenue came mostly from Airtel’s African operations, which accounted for nearly Rs 4,200 crore.
Still, a major factor hurting Airtel is its African business. Losses from the continent were at Rs 416 crore in the fourth quarter. And average revenue per user fell 3% during the quarter to $7.20.
But Airtel isn’t deterred. It head of international operations, Manoj Kohli, said they could re-launch 3G services in seven countries and launch those services afresh in three others.
Meanwhile, investors reacted badly to Airtel’s earnings. Shares of the firm lost 3.25% on the BSE to end at 357.60.
Also on Thursday, IBM India announced grand plans for the future as part of its 100-year celebrations. Managing director Shanker Annaswamy said the company would focus on areas like cloud computing, analytics and next-generation data centers. Some 25% of all IBM employees are estimated to be in India, though the company doesn’t reveal exact numbers.
In other news, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has warned rising oil prices could sharply cut the country’s growth. Mukherjee said that if crude prices remained at elevated levels, controlling inflation and maintaining growth would become difficult. Oil was at a 32-month high in April, though it has come down since.
There’s no sign of a recovery for Indian markets. They fell for a ninth day in a row on Thursday, marking this their longest losing streak in a decade. The Sensex plunged 259 points to 18,211. And the Nifty tumbled 77 to 5,460.