Airtel profits drop 41% after Zain Africa acquisition

Airtel has reported that its revenues for the fourth quarter of 2010 grew by 53% to US$3.2 billion compared to the previous year, thanks to its newly acquired Zain Africa division, which contributed US$911 million to the total.

However, net profits dropped by 41% from US$470 million last year to US$291 million this year due to a US$188 million increase in radio spectrum charges in India and an increase of US$106 million in debt interest.

A statement from the company said there was also a one-time charge for the rebranding of the company which cost the company US$76 million and a one-time restatement charge of US$66 million.

Chairman and Managing Director of Bharti Airtel, Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal was quoted in the statement as saying “Bharti Airtel continues to sustain its growth momentum across India, South Asia and Africa.”

He said the new airtel brand was successfully launched across 19 countries in one go, breaking barriers of language and culture.

“In India, we have commenced a new journey with the roll-out of 3G services and pilot launch of airtel money – in Africa we have been focused on developing a long-term sustainable business model that will transform the Africa market in terms of network coverage, quality of service and affordability,” Bharti Mittal said.

The company ended 2010 with 152.5 million subscribers in India; 3.2 million in Bangladesh and 1.8 million customers in Sri Lanka.

Airtel Africa ended the year with just over 42.1 million customers, across the 16 countries that it operates in, out of which Airtel Ghana contributed a meager 1.76 million subscribers.

Samuel Dowuona

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