Telecom giant Bharti Airtel Wednesday reported a 41 percent decline in its net income for the quarter ended December 2010 at Rs.1,303.3 crore owing to weaker margins from its African operations, currency fluctuations, spectrum charges and brand relaunch costs.

The operator had posted Rs.2,194.9 crore net income during the same period last fiscal.

“Adverse currency movements in Africa and India resulted in exchange fluctuations related losses of Rs.151 crore in the third quarter,” the company said in a statement.

The average revenue per user (ARPU) of the operator stood at Rs.198 in the quarter under review, as against Rs.202 during the previous quarter.

On a year-on-year basis, the income before taxes dropped on account of an increase of Rs.80 crore in spectrum charges in India, and increase in net interest outgo of Rs.471 crore, apart from a one-time brand relaunch cost of Rs.340 crore and restatement of losses of Rs.303 crore.

However, the total revenue of the company showed a significant growth of 53 percent at Rs.15,576 crore as against Rs.10,305.3 crore a year ago.

The company also repaid its debt of $415 million (over Rs.1,893 crore) taken for the third generation (3G) services during the quarter under review, said Manik Jhangiani, group chief financial officer, Bharti Enterprises.

The company said it will launch its third generation (3G) services across all its 13 telecom circles in India by the end of March and that the premium offering would help stablise its ARPU.

The overall customer base of the company stands at 207.8 million across 19 countries.

The operator, which has 3G licences in 9 of the 16 African countries it operates in, said that it was expecting more licences in the next six months.

At the Bombay Stock Exchange, the shares of the company were trading up 2.11 percent at Rs.321.25.

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