Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

R-Com Q1 profit rises 34% to Rs177 crore

Consolidated revenue in the first quarter ended 30 June was almost unchanged from a year earlier at Rs5,540 crore

Mumbai: Reliance Communications Ltd , India’s fourth-biggest mobile phone carrier, announced a 34% rise in quarterly profit on Friday, but missed analyst expectations as regulatory changes hit its core voice business.

The company’s domestic telecoms business was hurt by the regulator’s decision to reduce inter-network call charges and cap roaming tariffs, Gurdeep Singh, chief executive of Reliance Communication’s consumer business, told Reuters by telephone.

Consolidated revenue in the first quarter ended 30 June was almost unchanged from a year earlier at Rs5,540 crore ($852.53 million).

The company, controlled by billionaire Anil Ambani, said its total net profit rose to Rs177 crore for the quarter. That was well short of average analyst estimates of Rs269 crore, according to Thomson Reuters data.

However, the company continued to see strong growth in its data business as more subscribers used smartphones to access the Internet and existing customers used more data.

The proliferation of cheap smartphones, led by Chinese brands, has prompted more Indians to use their handsets to access the Internet and demand faster downloads. An Internet-based startup boom in the country has also seen increased adaptability on smartphones, bolstering demand for high-speed data.

“Our single-minded objective is to get more than a fair share of smartphones, dongles and wifi devices on the network," Singh told Reuters.

Reliance Communications said its total data customer base grew 24% to 35.4 million in the first quarter. Data traffic was up 68% at 92.8 billion megabytes.

The company’s net debt rose to Rs38,600 crore at the end of June from 36,730 crore as of 31 March, primarily due to an initial payment for telecoms airwaves won in a government auction in March.

Reliance Communications, the most leveraged Indian telecoms carrier with a net debt-to-EBITDA ratio of almost five times, has revived a plan to sell a stake in its tower unit and is also considering divesting other non-core assets in a bid to cut debt.

Singh said the company was focused on its deleveraging target to bring the net debt-to-EBITDA ratio down to around 3.5 by March 2017. Reuters

Reliance Group companies have sued HT Media Ltd, Mint’s publisher, and nine others in the Bombay High court over a 2 October 2014 front-page story that they have disputed. HT Media is contesting the case.

Close