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Bharti first-quarter profit at Rs 31 crore

New Delhi, July 23: Bharti Tele-Ventures has notched up Rs 31 crore net profit during the first quarter of 2003-04 as against Rs 67.6 crore loss during the same period last year.

The company said the surge in profits had been achieved in the face of implementation of the new interconnect regime and tremendous pressure on tariffs from competitors. However, the growth in demand for mobile services has greatly benefited the company.

Akhil Gupta, joint managing director of Bharti Tele-Ventures, said, “The fact that we have improved upon the after-tax profit this quarter by 20 per cent over the previous quarter is extremely satisfying considering that this was one of the most challenging quarters ever in terms of reduction in tariffs, both due to regulatory steps and competitive pressures. In this quarter, the incoming calls became free and the carriage charges of national long distance were reduced drastically under the interconnect user charge (IUC) order.”

“More significantly, this quarter also marks our firm entry into an elite club of Indian companies which have invested more than Rs 10,000 crore, have a quarterly revenue of over Rs 1000 crore and whose cash profit on an annualised basis as per the latest results would exceed Rs 1000 crore,” Gupta said.

Bharti Tele-Venture notched up revenues of Rs. 1,036 crore and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of Rs 289 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2003.

For the year ended March 31, 2003, it had revenues of Rs 3,050 crore and EBITDA of Rs 759 crore.

The company has 3.75 million cellular subscribers and commands about 25 per cent market share in a market of about 15 million cellular subscribers according to Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).

Its total subscribers by June had grown to 4.17 million as against 1.81 million subscribers during the same period last year.

Bharti’s group revenue during the quarter grew by 92 per cent to Rs 1,036 crore.

It provides cellular services in 15 of out the 22 telecom zones or circles in which the domestic telecom sector is divided. These circles represent 91 per cent of India’s total mobile subscribers.

Asian Paints net dips

PTI adds: Asian Paints (India) Ltd has posted a marginally lower net profit of Rs 28.79 crore in the first quarter ended June 30, this year, compared with Rs 28.83 crore registered during the same period last fiscal.

Net sales for the reporting quarter rose 9.9 per cent to Rs 378.85 crore (Rs 344.81 crore).

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