Initial public offer is unlikely to take place this year, says Marten Pieters

Vodafone India, on Tuesday, posted a 10.2 per cent increase in total revenue at Rs. 35,886 crore for the financial year ended March 31, 2013, driven by growth in mobile voice minutes and data revenue.

The India unit of British telecom major Vodafone Plc had reported revenues of Rs. 32,564 crore in the previous fiscal .

“We continue to show a healthy double digit revenue growth driven by strong increase in voice minutes and an accelerated data performance. The quality of our customer base is much healthier now, resulting in improved usage,” Vodafone India Managing Director and CEO Marten Pieters told reporters here. The industry growth was negatively impacted this year by the new acquisition and processing fee regulations, he added.

The company’s operating profit increased by 24.5 per cent to Rs. 10,640 crore for the financial year under review against an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of Rs. 8,549 crore last year.

Mr. Pieters said the company would make a “reasonably healthy level” of capital expenditure this year. The company has invested over Rs. 54,000 crore since 2007, when it first entered the Indian telecom market.

“The future area of growth in India is in data,” he said, indicating it is likely that most of the investment will be seen in that area.

Data browsing revenue

The company's data browsing revenue grew by 50.5 per cent, in the year under review, to Rs. 1,998.8 crore. Data now accounts for 7 per cent of the firm's service revenues.

The firm had a customer base of 152.4 million at the end of fiscal, which includes 37.3 million data users, of which the number of 3G customers stand at 3.3 million. Voice revenue saw a growth of 11.1 per cent at Rs. 27,592 crore, while messaging revenue declined 15.4 per cent to Rs. 1,336 crore for the fiscal. The average revenue per user (ARPU) for the company stood at Rs. 194 in fourth quarter ended March 31, 2013, while the average revenue per minute (ARPM) was stable at 44.4 paise.

Asked about its initial public offer (IPO) in India, Mr. Pieters said it was unlikely to take place this year.

“IPO depends on the clarity of spectrum prices. In 2014, a lot of our licences will be coming up for renewal,” he said.

On whether the company is planning to raise the headline tariff soon, he said, “There are no such plans yet. But the discount schemes have been reduced.”

On the Rs. 11,200 crore tax liability case, the Vodafone Group said in a statement, "Vodafone International Holdings BV (VIHBV) is exploring with the Indian Government whether a mechanism exists under Indian law which would allow the parties to explore the possibility of a negotiated resolution of this dispute, but there is no certainty that such a mechanism exists or that a resolution acceptable to both VIHBV and the Indian Government could be reached."


The industry construct is wrongJune 2, 2013

More In: Industry | Business