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Interview

 
 



Economic slowdown has no impact on Airtel, says Akhil Gupta

Akhil Gupta
Deputy Group CEO, Bharti Airtel
 
  TT Correspondent |  New Delhi | 31/10/2008

Q: What is the impact of the current economic slowdown on the performance of your company?

A: Last quarter has seen economic slowdown. However, the Indian telecom industry is not much affected. We have registered the highest number of subscribers during this quarter. Our performance in both the financial sector and in terms of subscriber growth has been satisfying.

 

What is good is that customer growth is coming from all parts of the country and from all category of circles.

 

Q: Did depreciation of rupee in last quarter have any impact on Airtel?

A: As a corporate policy a significant portion of our foreign exchange is hedged. Therefore, there is not much impact of this on Airtel and whatever impact is there it is only notional.

 

Q: What is unique about your results in this quarter?

A: Since our inception in 1994, this is for the first quarter that our internal cash generation is more than our Opex. This shows that in terms of financial health we are well placed.

 

The biggest challenge for any company today is liquidity. Since our internal cash generation is more than Opex, therefore, we do not face this problem. This makes us much more comfortable compared to others.

 

Q: Does it mean that you will give dividend now?

A: There is no plan for dividend in near future. We have expansion plans. Moreover, we may have to enter into 3G services, which is slated to be auctioned in next few weeks.

 

Q: Are you in favour of postponing 3G auction?

A: We are not in favour of postponing 3G auction. We believe that India is well positioned for 3G auction as our subscriber base has grown to a comfortable level. In the current economic scenario, the companies will not go out of way to bid very high for 3G spectrum. Bids will be based on business case.

    
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