* Q4 profit 3.1 bln rupees vs estimated 2.8 bln
* Board recommends dividend of 0.30 rupees per share
* Revenue rises 13 percent to 60.6 bln rupees
By Swati Pandey and Aradhana Aravindan
MUMBAI, April 25 India's Idea Cellular Ltd
reported its fourth straight quarter of earnings
growth, riding on strong customer additions and a court decision
that removed some smaller competitors from the market.
Older companies such as top carrier Bharti Airtel
and Vodafone's India unit as well as Idea have benefited
from a court order last year that revoked permits awarded in a
scandal-tainted sale, causing several smaller rivals to either
fold up or cut back operations.
Idea, part of the Aditya Birla conglomerate, said
consolidated net profit rose to 3.1 billion rupees ($57
million)in its fourth quarter through March from 2.4 billion a
Analysts had on average expected a net profit of 2.8 billion
rupees, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Revenue rose 13 percent to 60.6 billion rupees at the
company, which is part-owned by Malaysia's Axiata Group Bhd
Idea, which said it would pay its first ever dividend of
0.30 rupees per share, ended the quarter with 121.6 million
subscribers, compared with 112.7 million a year ago.
The company's expansion comes despite the mobile sector
being dogged by regulatory uncertainty, including surcharges on
existing airwaves owned by operators and the government's demand
that they stop providing 3G data services through roaming pacts
among each other.
Bharti Airtel and Idea earlier this year raised call prices
by withdrawing offers and cutting discounts as they face higher
According to StarMine SmartEstimates, which weighs analyst
forecasts according to their accuracy, Idea Cellular is expected
to achieve revenue growth of 12.8 percent over the next 12
months, higher than peers Bharti Airtel and Reliance
Communication, forecast at 10.7 percent and 7.7 percent
($1 = 54.3762 Indian rupees)
(Additional reporting by Patturaja Murugaboopathy in Banaglore;
Editing by Matt Driskill and David Holmes)