Bharti Infratel Q3 net profit surges to Rs. 411 crore, beats estimates

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Bharti-InfratelTelecommunications tower operator Bharti Infratel beat estimates with a surge in quarterly net profit, helped by higher investment income and lower interest expenses.

Bharti Infratel, just under 80 per cent owned by top Indian phone carrier Bharti Airtel, said on Thursday consolidated net profit rose 62 per cent to Rs. 411 crore for the third quarter to end-December, from Rs. 254 crore a year earlier.

Revenue for the December quarter grew an annual 4 per cent to Rs. 2,731 crore.

Five analysts on average had expected the company to report a net profit of Rs. 346 crore, while the average revenue estimate of seven analysts was Rs. 2,748 crore, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters StarMine.

Tower operators, who get their revenue from leasing mobile phone masts to cellular carriers, are betting on growth in mobile data networks to boost demand for mobile phone masts. The industry lost some clients last year after a court order forced several carriers to shut down or scale back.

Bharti Infratel, which raised about $512 million in 2012 from an initial public offering, is also expected to benefit from a recent network sharing agreement between parent Bharti Airtel and conglomerate Reliance Industries.

Bharti Infratel expects carriers to expand 3G networks in coming quarters as they see growth in revenue from data, Managing Director Akhil Gupta said in a statement.

The company, which is yet to spend much of the money raised from the IPO and has invested it in mutual funds, said other income rose 45 per cent to Rs. 91.7 crore. Finance costs were down by a fifth.

Shares in Bharti Infratel, valued at about $5 billion, were up 1.5 per cent by 1.48 p.m., having risen as much as 3.7 per cent after the results. BNP Paribas last week downgraded Bharti Infratel citing limited upside potential.