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    Airtel Blames Nigeria’s Wobbly Economy For 31% Drop In Q1

    INDIA’S largest telecom net­work operator, Bharti Airtel Ltd, reported a 30.8 percent fall in first-quarter net profit on Wednesday, blaming an ad­verse foreign exchange impact in Nigeria, although it beat analysts’ estimates.

    Consolidated net profit fell to 14.62 billion rupees ($218 million) in the quarter ended June 30, from 21.13 billion rupees last year, the company said.

    Analysts on average had expected a net profit of 11.59 billion rupees, according to Thomson Reuters data.

    Bharti Airtel, headed by Indian billionaire Sunil Mit­tal, said total revenue rose 7.9 percent from a year earlier to a record 255.47 billion rupees, helped by new customers signing up for the company’s 3G and 4G data services.

    During the quarter, the Ni­gerian naira depreciated by 42 percent, forcing the company to register an exceptional loss of 7.48 billion rupees as a re­sult. Bharti derives about 7 percent of its consolidated EBITDA (earnings before in­terest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) from Nigeria, analysts estimate.

    Restructuring in some oth­er countries also hurt profits, the company said.

    Mobile data revenue dur­ing the June quarter rose 35 percent to 35.25 billion ru­pees from a year ago, Bharti Airtel said. Average revenue per user (ARPU) of data rose 10-fold from a year earlier to 202 rupees during the quarter.
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