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June 3, 1997


VSNL net profit rises 23 per cent

The Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited, India's sole Internet access provider, has posted a net profit of Rs 5.03 billion for the year ended March 1997, up 23 per cent from Rs 4.08billion for the previous year.

The VSNL board, which met in Bombay, considered the unaudited financial results for fiscal 1996-97. The company has recorded a 17.65 per cent growth in total income, which stood at Rs 52.62 billion (Rs 44.73 billion in the previous year).

A release added that business has grown rapidly in recent years. This can be substantiated by the fact that the total volume of the telephone traffic transmitted over the company's network has risen by 20.43 per cent to 1,382 million paid minutes compared with 1,148 million paid minutes in the previous year.

Over the four-year period between 1993 to 1997. The volume of business handled has increased at a compounded annual growth rate of 23 per cent.

The incoming to outgoing call ratio for the year is 2.59 as against 2.4 in the previous year. The total number of telephone circuits operated by VSNL has increased to 14,184 from 12,873 in the previous year. The release also mentions that basic telephony services which have always been a major contributor to the company's revenues constituted 96 per cent of the year's revenues.

The various VSNL projects under implementation are the Fibre Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) cable, linking India to Japan and the United Kingdom, the consortia undertaking the commissioning of the SEA-ME-WE3 cable and new digital switches with a capacity of 12,000 terminations at Calcutta. These switches have already been commissioned at Bombay, Delhi and Madras.

VSNL's most significant achievement during 1996-97 was its issue of the global depository receipts which was completed in March. The GDR issue saw good demand from international investors and was substantially oversubscribed.

A total of 662 investors from 28 countries showed keen interest in the issue. It was the largest GDR issue made by an Indian company at $526.6 million and the third largest from Asia (excluding Japan). It was also the first ever divestment in GDR form by the Government of India.

Incorporated in 1986 under the Union Ministry of Communications, VSNL's primary objective was to take control of the operations of the erstwhile Department of Overseas Communications Service. As a successor to former organisations providing external communication services, VSNL has completed 126 years of operation and 10 as VSNL.

Today it operates four main gateway centres at Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras which have computerised telephony, telex and telegraph switching exchanges.

The international telecommunications circuits are derived from communications satellites of Intelsat and Inmarsat and wide-band submarine telephone cables across the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.

The VSNL operates satellite earth stations in 14 cities including Delhi, Bombay and Madras. Maritime mobile communications through the Inmarsat global network are routed via the VSNL land earth station at Arvi near Pune. VSNL also operates three submarine telephone cables.

The company's services include telephone, telex, telegraph, leased services including 64 Kbps service, buraufax, packet switched data radiophoto, television, T-fax, teleconferencing, video conferencing, mutli-address broadcasts, press newscasts, meteorological broadcasts, mailbox, e-fax, Intelsat business services, Home Country Direct, Electronic Mail Services, International Maritime Mobile Communications.

VSNL has launched the 'Global Network Service' in partnership with British Telecom, the first of its kind in India. In addition to the 'Namaskar Seva' Hindi service to the US in collaboration with AT&T, VSNL has also recently launched an operator assisted Hindi service to the US in collaboration with MCI. International direct dialing to 237 destinations worldwide is now being offered by VSNL from over 4,446 locations in India.

Among the major projects that VSNL has executed in the Eighth Plan are two full-fledged Intelsat Standard-A earth stations at Calcutta and Madras and the Under Sea Fibre Optic Digital Cable System (SEA-ME-WE-2).

VSNL expects to see continued progress in its principle area of business - the growth in basic international telecommunication services. The company also plans to continuously improve and introduce specialised value-added services.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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