India’s biggest telecom company has done worse than expected in the fourth quarter. Bharti Airtel reported an 8% fall in net profit to Rs2,055 crore. Profit for the full year was better, rising 7% to Rs9,103 crore.
While Bharti’s net profits were down for the quarter, sales figures have been better. They went up 2% to Rs10,056 crore. Like a lot of Indian mobile operators, Bharti’s profitability has been hit by a price war that has sent call rates plummeting. While it added 8.7 million new subscribers during the quarter, its average revenue per user fell 4.3%.
The pressure on margins back home has given Bharti more reasons to integrate its foreign operations. The company bought Kuwaiti firm Zain’s African assets in March for $9 billion. But that acquisition still needs to get approval from local regulators. Two African governments have already objected to the deal.
The Planning Commission is sending out advisors to state capitals to see how various welfare schemes are actually performing. Advisors will survey the functioning of NREGA, NRHM and other programmes.
The advisors have been told to finish their work within a month. They’ll be focus is going be on six states affected by Naxal violence. A recent report showed that the same six states were also the ones with the most rural poor. The states in question are Orissa, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.
The ripples from the crisis in Greece have sent markets all over the world tumbling down. Bourses fell in Europe, the US, Japan and Hong Kong. Things were no different here in India. The Sensex plunged a full 311 to end Wednesday’s trading at 17,380. And the Nifty followed it down, losing 93 to finish at 5,215.