Reliance Communications Ltd. (RCOM), India’s second-largest mobile-phone operator, reported fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as customers spent more time using their phones.
Net income rose to 3.32 billion rupees ($60 million) in the three months ended March 31, from 1.68 billion rupees a year earlier, the Mumbai-based company said in a statement today. That exceeded the 1.69 billion-rupee median of 22 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Reliance, the flagship company of billionaire-Chairman Anil Ambani, joined competitors Bharti Airtel Ltd. (BHARTI) and Vodafone Group Plc (VOD) in raising call rates for the first time in more than two years in 2011. Reliance, which spent 85.9 billion rupees buying airwave permits for third-generation services two years ago, is evaluating an initial public offering of its submarine-cable unit to reduce its debt load.
The company is seeking to sell its tower unit, Reliance Infratel Ltd., in a bid to reduce its debt. Reliance may also sell 75 percent of FLAG Telecom, the submarine cable assets held by its unit Reliance Globalcom, in the first half of this year and is seeking a valuation of as much as $2 billion, a person with knowledge of the matter said in January. The person declined to be identified as the process is private.
“Everybody on the street is definitely waiting for them to either get the Singapore listing done, or do the tower stake sale,” said Ankita Somani, an analyst at Angel Broking Ltd. in Mumbai. “If we get a clear-cut direction, that’s going to be positive.”
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