Driven by the addition of new subscribers and growth in data traffic and revenues, Vodafone India, the Indian arm of the British multinational telecom firm, posted a 6.2 percent year-on-year rise in revenues to Rs 21,883 crore for the six months ended September 30, 2015.
Vodafone India, the country’s second-largest telecom services provider by subscribers, is an unlisted company and doesn’t disclose its net profit figures. The company’s turnover in the April-September period was impacted by regulatory changes in the sector, the company said. Excluding the regulatory impact, Vodafone India’s revenues rose by 11.2 percent year-on-year to Rs 22,902 crore.These regulatory changes include reduction in mobile termination rates for incoming calls and national roaming rates, as well as increase in service tax.
The company reported an Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) of Rs 6,534 crore for the same period, a growth of 6.7 percent over the year-ago period. Vodafone India’s Ebitda margin stood at 29.7 percent, up 0.2 percentage points.Vodafone India doesn’t report quarterly turnover and profitability numbers separately.
In the six months till September 30, Vodafone India’s subscriber base grew by 8.2 percent from the year earlier to 188.20 million users; data users increased by 28.4 percent to 42.6 million users. Within Vodafone India’s set of data users, the number of subscribers using 3G services grew by 75.4 percent to 23.8 million people.
Due to the regulatory impact mentioned earlier, Vodafone India’s average revenue per user dropped 2.7 percent year-on-year to Rs 197 during the first half of fiscal 2015-16. Average revenue per minute from voice services also fell by 10 percent in this period to 33.9 paise.In line with the broad trend witnessed in the telecom sector wherein adoption of data services has been on the rise, Vodafone India reported a 56 percent rise in browsing revenues to Rs 3,979 crore.
Vodafone will be launching 4G services in India in a phased manner between December 2015 and March 2016. It is incurring capital expenditure to make the network ready for such services. In the first half of the current fiscal, the telco spent Rs 3,627 crore towards capital expenditure, which was 16.5 percent of its turnover in this period.
Sunil Sood, Vodafone India’s managing director and chief executive officer, said last year (FY14-15), his company invested around Rs 8,500 crore towards capex and was expected to spend a similar amount this fiscal as well.
Vodafone India had an outstanding debt of Rs 76,800 crore as on September 30, according to Thomas Reisten, the company’s chief financial officer. Around Rs 33,800 crore of this debt was taken to meet its obligation for future repayment of spectrum charges. Vodafone India acquired additional spectrum through a government auction in March to further strengthen its 2G and 3G voice and data service capabilities in the country.
Sood stated that Vodafone India was on the lookout for additional spectrum to provide 3G services in those circles across India where it doesn’t have these services on offer, provided such spectrum was available “at the right price”, either through the auction route or through the spectrum trading and sharing route, which has been recently allowed by the government.
In October, Vodafone Group’s global chief executive officer Vittorio Colao said the Indian arm of the multinational was preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) of its shares in India, though he didn’t specify any timelines for the same. Asked if Vodafone’s pending tax dispute with the Indian government would have any bearing on the company’s plans to go public, Sood said the tax case, which is in arbitration, won’t have any impact on his firm’s IPO plans. Vodafone may look to repay some of its debt with money raised from the public.
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