Tiny blood card offers easier tests for remote areas

A cheap and portable blood test could provide a breakthrough for diagnosing infections in remote areas of the world, a scientific study says.

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Bharti Airtel Q1 net down nearly 28% to Rs1,215.20 crore

Income before taxes dropped to Rs1,719 crore in Q1, FY11-12 from Rs2,072 crore in the corresponding previous period, mainly on account of higher interest outgo on the Africa acquisition and 3G investments in India and 3G license fee amortisation

Mumbai: Telecom services major Bharti Airtel today said its net profit dipped nearly 28% to Rs1,215.20 crore in the quarter ended 30 June 2011 compared to Rs1,681.60 crore in the same period of the last fiscal, Bharti Airtel said in a statement.

Total sales were, however, up by over 38% to Rs16,982.80 crore in the reporting quarter against Rs12,285.60 crore in Q1 FY10-11, reports PTI.

"Bharti Airtel has started this fiscal year on a stable note. Revenue growth has been steady across all geographies, with Africa recording a healthy sequential growth of approximately 6% and annual growth of 21%," Bharti Airtel chairman and managing director Sunil Bharti Mittal said.

In India, the company's efforts in the area of cost efficiencies have helped arrest the margin decline, he added.

Income before taxes dropped to Rs1,719 crore in Q1, FY11-12 from Rs2,072 crore in the corresponding previous period, mainly on account of higher interest outgo (Rs344 crore on the Africa acquisition) and third generation (3G) investments in India and 3G license fee amortisation (Rs159 crore).

Last year, Bharti Airtel acquired Zain Telecom's Africa operations for $10.7 billion to become the world's fifth largest mobile operator.

Also, the effective tax rate for the first quarter increased to 29.9%, mainly due to a reduction in tax holiday benefits in India, which hurt net profit.

India and South Asia revenues were up by 11.9% year-on-year at Rs12,631 crore, while Africa revenues stood at $979 million (up by 6% vis-à-vis Q4, FY10-11), the statement said.

"The new customer facing the organisation in India will see more agile and responsive teams in action. This will also give a fillip to growth in value-added services, broadband, digital TV and Airtel Money. Overall, 2011-12 promises to be an exciting year of transformation," Mr Mittal said.

The company's overall customer base stood at 230.8 million across 19 countries.

Shares of Bharti Airtel were trading at Rs 422.90 apiece, down 2.12% on the Bombay Stock Exchange in noon trade today.

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PMEAC chief pitches for decontrol of diesel prices

"Retail prices of petroleum products in India must reflect international crude oil prices. Therefore, at some convenient point we should really start the process of deregulation of diesel prices also," Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) chairman C Rangarajan advocated

Chennai: The Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) chairman C Rangarajan on Tuesday favoured decontrolling of diesel prices, saying retail petroleum prices must reflect the international crude prices, reports PTI.

"I think it should happen. Because retail prices of petroleum products in India must reflect international crude oil prices. Therefore, at some convenient point we should really start the process of deregulation of diesel prices also," he told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

He said time to time, prices of petroleum products had been increased in large steps, and therefore, "I would advocate deregulation of diesel prices."

Early this week, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee admitted the government's proposal to free prices of diesel and cooking gas. "Petrol we have done (decontrolled). Diesel, kerosene and LPG we want to do it. (But) Kerosene we may have to provide some subsidy because people who have no access to electricity, use kerosene for lighting," he had said.

While the prices of petrol are linked to market rates, the government directly and indirectly compensates the oil marketing companies for losses on account of sale of diesel, kerosene and LPG through subsidies and oil bonds.

In June last year, the government decided to deregulate the petrol prices owing to steep increase in international crude oil prices and the oil marketing companies facing severe pressure owing to increasing under recoveries.

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