Bharti Airtel, the country’s biggest telecom firm, has reported first quarter earnings that lag behind most street estimates. The company’s poor showing come even as it hopes to see an improvement in margins in the coming months. Net profit for the three months to June dropped 28% to Rs1,215 crore. That was despite a 39% rise in revenue to Rs16,975 crore.
Bharti Airtel still retains a massive subscriber base of more than 221 million customers worldwide. But low call rates in India and high costs in Africa have put pressure on its margins. Airtel is counting on a combination of an African turnaround and higher call rates in India to deliver profits in the coming quarters.
In other news, manufacturing in India may have slowed down in recent times, but the services sector is still showing robust growth. New numbers show the HSBC Markit Business Activity Index has reached its highest in three months. The index stood at 58.2 during July. Back in June it was at 56.1. India’s services industry does face the challenge of rising input costs, much like other sectors. Input costs went up to a four-month high in July thanks to rising wages and fuel prices.
Indian markets have tumbled once again, taking their cue from poor economic sentiments around the globe. The Sensex dropped 169 points to 17,941. And the Nifty fell 52 to 5,405.