Signage of Airtel Ltd. seen at one of its outlet in Bengaluru, India. (Photographer: Anirudh Saligrama/ BloombergQuint)

What Dalal Street Made Of Airtel’s Third Quarter Earnings

Brokerages maintained status quo on Bharti Airtel Ltd., even as its profit fell for the sixth straight quarter after the telecom regulator reduced the fee that operators earn for cross-network calls by more than half.

The fall in profit for the telecom operator comes at a time when the world’s second-largest telecom market is locked in a tariff war triggered by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. The country’s newest wireless carrier first launched services free and then offered cheaper data plans, forcing rivals to match its prices and benefits.

India’s largest wireless carrier’s net profit in the December quarter declined 11 percent over the previous three months to Rs 306 crore, Bharti Airtel said in a stock exchange filing. The consensus estimate of analysts tracked by Bloomberg had expected profit at Rs 359 crore.

Here’s What Brokerages Had To Say About Bharti Airtel’s Q3 Performance:

CLSA

  • Maintained ‘Buy’; with target price of Rs 640.
  • Results ahead of estimates.
  • India mobile average revenue per user at Rs 123 surprised positively.
  • Consolidation and data ramp-up driving multi-year growth.
  • Stock will see improved valuations.
  • Expect ARPU and operating income to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 7 percent and 16 percent, respectively, over the financial years through March 2021.

Credit Suisse

  • India’s operating income decline accelerates - far from bottom.
  • Africa continues to surprise positively.
  • With EBITDA decline and high capex, leverage is precariously high.
  • This increases urgency of monetising Bharti Infratel stake.
  • Though Airtel has cut stake in Infratel, net debt has hardly moved on a yearly basis.

Morgan Stanley

  • Maintained ‘Overweight’ with target price of Rs 658.
  • India wireless lackluster, Africa shines in the previous quarter.
  • Enterprise and DTH continued healthy performances.
  • Airtel was impacted by interconnection usage charges (IUC) as well as down trending of tariffs.
  • Volume growth in both voice and data remained robust.
  • Africa saw strong performance led by margin expansion.
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