April 24, 2018 / 12:35 PM / 2 years ago

Bharti Airtel posts lowest quarterly profit in nearly 15 years

A man leaves a Bharti Airtel store in New Delhi, India April 20, 2016. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

(Reuters) - Bharti Airtel Ltd posted its lowest quarterly profit in nearly 15 years on Tuesday, as a price war in the telecoms sector continued to hurt, while revenue was hit by a regulatory cut in international termination charges.

The entry of Reliance Jio, the telecoms arm of Reliance Industries Ltd, into India’s telecoms sector has set off a brutal price war among operators as they drastically cut prices to compete with Jio’s bottomed out plans.

Compounding to the industry’s woes, India’s telecoms regulator had also cut international termination charges (ITC) - paid by global long-distance operators to local carriers - to 30 paise from 53 paise, effective from February.

“The telecom industry continues to witness below cost, artificially suppressed pricing,” Gopal Vittal, Bharti Airtel’s managing director and chief executive for India and South Asia, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Profit slumped 77.8 percent to 829 million rupees ($12.49 million) in the quarter ended March 31, the company said, its lowest since the quarter ended June, 2003.

Revenue fell 10.5 percent to 196.34 billion rupees.

($1 = 66.3750 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Jessica Kuruthukulangara in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath/David Evans

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