India's Bharti Airtel Q4 net surges, meets estimates

NEW DELHI, April 29 Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:00am EDT

NEW DELHI, April 29 (Reuters) - Bharti Airtel Ltd, India's top mobile phone carrier, reported its second consecutive quarter of profit growth, meeting estimates, as reduced competition in the world's second-biggest mobile phone market helped push call prices higher.

Consolidated net profit surged 89 percent to 9.62 billion Indian rupees ($158.9 million) for its fiscal fourth quarter to end-March from 5.09 billion rupees reported a year earlier, New Delhi-based Bharti Airtel said on Tuesday.

Analysts on average had expected the New Delhi-based company, headed by Indian billionaire Sunil Mittal and nearly a third owned by Singapore Telecommunications, to report a net profit of 9.73 billion rupees.

The Indian telecommunications market, which had been hit by fierce competition and a vicious price war, started improving last year following a court order that revoked the permits of several carriers and reduced competition. Bharti Airtel had reported for the December quarter its first profit rise in four years.

The company operates in 20 countries across Asia and Africa and is the world's fourth-biggest cellular carrier by customers. ($1 = 60.5550 Indian Rupees) (Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Matt Driskill and Tommy Wilkes)

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