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`Aggressive rollout' sees Bharti losses rise

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, Oct. 29

BHARTI Tele-Ventures Ltd has registered a net loss of Rs 129 crore in the second quarter of the current fiscal, as against a profit of Rs 12 crore in the corresponding period last year.

As per the unaudited results for the quarter ending September 30, 2002, announced on Tuesday, the company has, however, registered growth in terms of subscribers, revenues and EBITDA as compared to the previous year quarter.

While revenue grew by 89 per cent to Rs 658 crore (from Rs 349 crore), its operating profit (EBITDA) grew by 23 per cent to Rs 121 crore (Rs 99 crore).

According to a statement from the company, its market share of the total mobile net additions during the quarter was 58 per cent. It became the first company in India to cross a 2-million mobile subscriber base and had 22,93,128 mobile subscribers on its networks as on September 30.

" Our subscriber net additions for the mobile segment was over 6,86,496 compared to 2,55,742 net additions in the previous quarter, exhibiting a sequential growth of 168 per cent,'' the statement noted.

It also pointed out that the funded equity is approximately Rs 5,195 crore, while the net debt is Rs 2,507 crore resulting in a low net debt to funded equity of 0.48.

Commenting on the results, Mr Sunil Mittal, Chairman and Group Managing Director, noted that the higher losses this quarter were on account of the aggressive rollout of its cellular and basic operations across the country. This quarter, with more than double the number of regions in which it offers mobile phone services compared with a year earlier, it has a 27 per cent share of the country's 8.5 million cellular phone users.

``This is the quarter we expected our net loss to be the highest with all the projects coming into play. We except a quantum reduction in net losses in the next two quarters,'' he said.

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