Posts 22 % growth in operating profit at Rs.8,549 crore

Vodafone India may not go ahead with its planned initial public offer (IPO) in 2012 if the government accepts the proposals of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) with regard to auction of telecom spectrum, according to Vodafone India, MD & CEO, Marten Pieters.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Mr. Pieters said, “TRAI proposes to have spectrum auctions three times over the next 12 months and considering that situation, it is highly unlikely that we will go in for an IPO in the middle of spectrum auctions.”

“We had started IPO preparations but there is much uncertainty around spectrum allocation and pricing. We have not taken it off the table but in the end, it is a shareholders decision as it is important to get the timing right.”

Vodafone India reported a 19.5 per cent growth in revenue for the year ended March 2012 at Rs.32,184 crore. The operating profit was up 21.6 per cent at Rs.8,549 crore. The operating margin moved up by 0.5 percentage point to 26.3 per cent. Vodafone's Indian operations are not yet profitable at net level.

“We have had a really good year with strong operational performance, continued revenue market share (RMS) growth and an improvement in margins. Our new circles have performed well and we now have over 10 per cent RMS in four of the seven circles,” Mr. Pieters said.

The company reported an average revenue per user (ARPU) of Rs.180 in the January-March 2012 quarter and in terms of mobile number portability, it added 1.7 million new customers and its customer base crossed 150 million during the year, including 60 million rural subscribers. It incurred a capital expenditure of Rs.6,220 crore in 2011-12 and had a net debt of Rs.30,000 crore.

Colman Deegan, CFO, Vodafone India told reporters, “We will continue to invest in the business as there is a strong operational financial momentum but there are no specific plans to retire any debt this year.”

Mr. Deegan said Vodafone had invested Rs.50,000 crore in Indian operations since 2007 and “will put in more but spectrum is the absolute raw material and the TRAI recommendations are economically unattractive. An industry consolidation needs to happen but that is unlikely if there is no clarity around spectrum issues.”

On the company's 3G services, Mr. Deegan said, “We launched it in April 2011 and we are trying to get the right balance between pricing and demand.”

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