On the back of improvement in cost efficiencies,Vodafone India on Wednesday said its revenue had grown 13.3 per cent over a year to Rs 17,580 crore for the six months ended September, even as net profit remained negative.
Revenue (standalone and proportionate ones from consolidation of Indus Towers) was Rs 15,510 crore in the same period last year. The telecom major did not disclose the profit numbers for April-September this year.
"We have been able to improve our operational profit margin to 28.4 per cent as a result of our increasing operating efficiency, based on scale and lower customer acquisition cost," Martin Pieters, managing director and chief executive officer, told reporters. Revenue growth, he said, was impacted by some regulatory measures.
He said the losses were due to high operating costs. These were mainly on account of the huge investments in rolling out services in new telecom zones and enhancing its coverage in the country. Depreciation costs and borrowing rates as high as 11-12 per cent made it difficult to earn a profit, Pieters said. The Vodafone Group, headquartered in Britain, has so far invested around Rs 51,000 crore in India.
Vodafone Group reported a dip of 0.4 per cent in global organic service revenue. Earnings from southern Europe fell 9.8 per cent. Africa, Middle East and the Asia-Pacific (the last category includes India) grew 5.2 per cent, while North Europe grew 1.5 per cent.
India service revenue rose 13.5 per cent, driven by a 5.3 per cent rise in the customer base, strong growth in incoming and outgoing mobile voice minutes and two per cent growth in the effective outgoing rate per minute. Vodafone India's capital expenditure was lower at Rs 1,700 crore in April-September compared to Rs 2,430 crore in the same period last year. due to a slower economy and uncertain regulatory outlook. There was 39 per cent growth in operating free cash flow at Rs 3,380 crore, as compared to Rs 2,430 crore in the same period last year.
While there has been a drop in minutes (182 billion in the second quarter against 188 billion in Q1) due to a decline in subscribers and seasonality, average revenue per minute remained stable at 44p, driven by prudent pricing in the first half.
There was strong growth in data revenues at 12.4 per cent in the first half. Active data customers totalled 32 million, including about 2.1 million 3G (third-generation technology) data customers as on September 30.
According to a Vodafone Plc (the parent) statement, voice revenue from India was Euro 1,582 million, while messaging revenue was Euro 74 mn, data revenue Euro 168 mn and fixed line revenue Euro 9 mn during April-September.