Bharti Airtel is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 18 countries across Asia and Africa. Company ranks amongst the top 3 mobile service providers globally and its mobile network covers a population of over 2 billion people. Airtel is India’s largest integrated telecom provider and 2nd largest mobile operator in Africa, having customer base of 47.1 Cr across its operations. Airtel’s portfolio includes high speed 4G/4.5G mobile broadband, Airtel Xstream Fiber that promises speeds upto 1Gbps, converged digital TV solutions through the Airtel Xstream 4K Hybrid Box, digital payments through Airtel Payments Bank as well as an integrated suite of services across connectivity, collaboration, cloud & security.
|Market Cap. (Cr.)||376917.84|
|52 Wk. high/low||696.00/394.00|
|Book Value (Rs)||107.34|
Share Holding Pattern %
|Non Promoter Corp.||0.55|
|Public & Others
Key Investment Rationale:
Market outlook: Strong growth is seen across the Wireless, FTTH, Enterprise, and Digital verticals. Airtel, with its deep expertise and strong right-to-win, is therefore ramping up its network capabilities to drive growth.
Tariffs to go up: Airtel would work to gradually improve pricing with the aim to reach ARPU of INR200 by FY22 end and INR300 over the long term.
5G to come in 2HFY22: The ecosystem development (device, spectrum, and network) is gaining momentum. The spectrum auction could happen next year, and gradual deployment could begin by 2HFY22 with 100x capacity. However, Airtel plans to deploy capital judiciously.
Why Right Issue: The management clarified that fund raise was aimed to meet accelerated investment mainly in mobile business (as it envisages strong market share grab), 5G, fibre backhaul, FTTH and data center. They also clarified that proceeds will not be utilized for investment in Indus or OneWeb.
Targeting 2x Net Debt/ EBITDA: It will be comfortable with net debt to EBITDA of 2x and aims to achieve this. It has a monetization opportunity, through Africa, Indus, etc. and increasing cash flow from growth in the existing business. So, in the next 2–3 years, Airtel’s debt profile should become much better
Airtel Africa- Steady Growth and Self-Sufficient:Africa business is performing well over the last four-year period. Airtel Africa’s growth is outpacing peers in all African countries. The next 4–5 years could have a multiplier effect on the valuation of Airtel Africa PLC (AAF). AAF is a consistently dividend paying entity with leverage under control due to asset monetization.
Investment in UK based space start-up OneWeb: OneWeb is planning to launch fleet of 648 Low Earth Orbit Satellites that will deliver high-speed, low –latency global connectivity globally by May 2022 including in India.
Key Business Areas:
Mobile Services (India) – Airtel offers postpaid, prepaid, international roaming, data connectivity and other value-added services to customers. It has distribution channel spread across 1.11 million outlets with network presence in 7,907 census and 791,672 non-census towns and villages in India. As of March 31, 2021, the Company had 321.4 million customer in India.
Airtel acquired 355.45 MHz spectrum across sub-GHz, mid-band and 2300 MHz bands for a total consideration of 18703.4 Crore. Reframed its 3G spectrum to expand 4G coverage.
Revenue from Mobile Service in India was Rs 55567.7 Cr in FY 2021 Vs. Rs 45966.3 Cr in FY 2020.
Home Services: Airtel provides fixed-line telephone and broadband services for homes in 291 cities across India as compared to 111 cities at the end of the previous year. The product offerings include high-speed broadband on copper and fiber and voice connectivity, up to speeds of 1 Gbps for the home segment. Airtel is the India’s largest private sector broadband player. Company has 3.07Mn customers as on 31st March, 2021.
Revenue from Home service in India was Rs 2334.2 Cr in FY 2021 Vs. Rs 2245.1 Cr in FY 2020.
Digital Services: Airtel’s Direct-To-Home (DTH) platform offers both standard and high definition (HD) digital TV services with 3D capabilities and Dolby surround sound. . It is one of the fastest-growing DTH operators, with operations in 639 districts. Airtel provides 650 channels including 85 HD channels (including 3 HD SVOD services), 60 SVOD services, 6 international channels and 2 interactive services.
Revenue from Digital Service in India was Rs 14407.5Cr in FY 2021 Vs. Rs 13233.1 Cr in FY 2020.
Airtel Business: Airtel is one of India’s leading and most trusted provider of ICT services with a diverse portfolio of services to enterprises, governments, carriers and small and medium businesses. Along with voice, data and video, their services also include conferencing, cloud, network integration, data centres, managed services, enterprise mobility applications and digital media. Its global network runs across 365,000+ Rkms (including IRU) with over 1,200 customers, covering 50 countries and five continents and 65 global PoPs (Point of presence).
Revenue from Airtel Business in India was Rs 3056.2 Cr in FY 2021 Vs. Rs 2923.8 Cr in FY 2020
Key Strategic Alliance & Partnership:
Airtel and Qualcomm announced their partnership for 5G in India. Airtel’s network vendors and device partners will utilize the Qualcomm® 5G RAN Platforms to roll out virtualized and Open RAN-based 5G networks
As part of its strategy to offer best-in-class entertainment to customers in India, Airtel announced a partnership with VOOT to bring more premium digital content onto its Airtel Xstream platform.
Airtel partnered with the Government of Tamil Nadu to bring quality online learning classes to students in the state through Airtel’s digital platforms.
Airtel announced a strategic partnership with Nokia’s CloudBand‑based software products that are powering Bharti Airtel’s VoLTE network in India, which supports over 110 million customers, making it the largest cloud-based VoLTE network in India and largest Nokia-run VoLTE in the world.
Airtel announced an agreement to deploy Altiostar’s open virtual radio access network (vRAN) solution. The solution has 5G ready software and would provide seamless evolution to 5G using the same architecture.
Bharti Airtel selected Ceragon’s (Ceragon Networks Ltd.) products and services for additional 4G network expansions to address the growing demand for broadband amidst a sharp rise in data consumption across India.
Amazon joined hands with Airtel for the first roll-out of Prime Video Mobile Edition, making high quality entertainment accessible to hundreds of millions of Airtel customers.
Airtel partnered with National Small Industries Corporation to provide millions of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) access to its network and connectivity, conferencing facilities, cloud infrastructure and security, and Go-to-Market solutions. This partnership will empower the MSME sector to leverage the best of a connected economy and digital solutions to grow business and realise the Government’s goal of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’.
Airtel and AWS entered into a multi-year, Strategic Collaboration Agreement (SCA) to bring secure and scalable cloud solutions to enterprises in India. As part of this agreement, Airtel Cloud, a multi-cloud product and solutions business, will offer customers a range of AWS services, including Windows on AWS, SAP on AWS, VMware Cloud on AWS, database migration, and security and risk governance solutions. Airtel Cloud will also use AWS’ services across analytics, data warehousing, Internet of Things (IoT), and Machine Learning (ML) to help customers design new services and migrate to the cloud from legacy infrastructures.
Recent Acquisition & Investments:
Airtel acquired a strategic stake in Edtech start‑up, Lattu Kids, which specializes in digital learning tools for children. Its highly popular app focuses on improving English vocabulary and reading skills as well as aptitude in Mathematics for children under the age of 10 years through entertaining and animated videos and games. The investment will enable Airtel to add Edtech to its premium digital content portfolio and give distribution scale to quality learning material from Lattu Kids.
Airtel on boarded Waybeo, a Trivandrum headquartered startup focused on deep AI-based analytics for cloud telephony, to enable Waybeo to fast-track its growth by leveraging Airtel’s global scale cloud stack and enrich companies cloud stack with their offerings as well. Waybeo has built cutting-edge analytics tools for the enterprise cloud telephony segment. Waybeo’s solutions will get larger distribution reach while giving Airtel access to Waybeo’s proven and emerging technologies.
Airtel acquired strategic stake in Voicezen, an early stage startup focused on conversational AI technologies, as a part of which Airtel will get preferred access to Voicezen’s solutions that analyses call data and convert speech to text supporting ‘Hinglish’ and four regional languages. The solutions offer real-time analytics and insights to make Airtel’s conversations with its customers more engaging and frictionless and enable faster issue resolution.
Bharti Airtel has acquired 100% stake in OneWeb India Communications Private Limited. OneWeb provide satellite services and has applied for the necessary regulatory approvals to commence operations. OneWeb is a low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications operator, co-owned by Bharti Global(38.6%) and UK government(19.3%), which is open to entering India either directly or through a commercial partnership, involving either the JV route or a bandwidth capacity leasing pact, even as it gears up to launch fast broadband services in the country. OneWeb is planning to launch fleet of 648 Low Earth Orbit Satellites that will deliver high-speed, low –latency global connectivity globally by May 2022 including in India.
Indian Telecom Industry
India is the world’s 2nd-largest telecommunications market with a subscriber base of 1.20 billion and has registered strong growth in the last decade. In 2019, India surpassed the US to become the 2nd largest market in terms of number of app downloads.
The liberal and reformist policies of the GOI have been instrumental along with strong consumer demand in the rapid growth in the Indian telecom sector. The Government has enabled easy market access to telecom equipment and a fair and proactive regulatory framework that has ensured availability of telecom services to consumer at affordable prices. The deregulation of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms have made the sector one of the fastest growing and the top five employment opportunity generator in the country. Over the next five years, rise in mobile-phone penetration and decline in data costs will add 50 Crore new internet users in India, creating opportunities for new businesses.
In August 2021, Bharti Airtel has closed a pact to transfer the ‘Right to Use’ of its 800 MHz spectrum in three circles to rival Reliance Jio for a consideration of Rs 1,004.8 crore.
In April 2021, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has started accepting pre-orders for the beta version of its Starlink satellite internet service in India for a fully refundable deposit of US$ 99. Currently, Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is screening the move and more developments will be unveiled soon.
In March 2021, Vodafone Idea Ltd. (VIL) announced that the acquired spectrum in five circles would help improve 4G coverage and bandwidth, allowing it to offer ‘superior digital experience’ to customers and Bharti Airtel has acquired 355.45 MHz spectrum across Sub GHz, mid band and 2300 MHz bands for a total consideration of Rs 18,699 crores
In June 2020, Jio Platforms Ltd. sold 22.38% stake worth Rs 1.04 trillion (US$ 14.75 billion) to ten global investors in a span of eight weeks under separate deals, involving Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista, General Atlantic, Mubadala, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), TPG Capital and L. Catterton. This is the largest continuous fundraise by any company in the world.
The Government has fast-tracked reforms in the telecom sector and continues to be proactive in providing room for growth for telecom companies. Some of the key initiatives taken by the Government are as follows:
The union cabinet has approved nine structural and five process reforms. Key highlights: i) Definition of AGR to be rationalized. All non-telecom revenue to be removed from AGR. ii) Delayed SUC and LF payments to attract MCLR+2%, with interest compounded annually. iii) Future auction for spectrum will be for 30 years instead of 20 years. iv) Spectrum can be surrendered, subject to conditions. v) Sharing of spectrum to be completely allowed. vi) 100% FDI in telecom approved through automatic route with safeguards. vii) Tower set-up process to be simplified. viii) Purchase of equipment by telecom operators to be made easier. ix) Moratorium of 4 years provided on spectrum and AGR dues.
In April 2021, the government pointed out that firms such as Ericsson and Nokia are now eager to expand their operations in India, and global companies like Samsung, Cisco, Ciena and Foxconn have expressed interest to set up their manufacturing base in the country for telecom and networking products.
In 2021-22, the Department of Telecommunications has been allocated Rs. 58,737.00 crore (US$ 8 billion). 56% allocation is towards revenue expenditure and the remaining 44% is towards capital expenditure.
Under Union Budget 2021-22, the government allocated Rs. 14,200 crore (US$ 1.9 billion) for telecom infrastructure that entails completion of optical fibre cable-based network for Defence services, rolling out broadband in 2.2 lakh panchayats and improving mobile services in the North East.
FDI cap in the telecom sector has been increased to 100% from 74%; out of 100%, 49% will be done through the automatic route and the rest will be done through the FIPB approval route. FDI of up to 100% is permitted for infrastructure providers offering dark fibre, electronic mail and voice mail.
Source: ibef.org,Annual Report,Company
Q1 FY22 Financial Performance – Standalone
|(Amounts in Cr)|
|Particulars||Q1 FY2022||Q4FY2021||Q1 FY2021||Var.QoQ (%)||Var.YoY (%)|
|Revenue From Operations||16114.20||16329.50||15049.20||-1.32%||7.08%|
|Networking Operating Expenses||3863.50||4047.20||3620.40|
|Employee Benefits Expenses||389.60||391.50||461.10|
|Sales & Marketing Expenses||616.80||669.20||360.40|
|Total Operating Expenses||8266.40||8726.30||8898.20|
|Operating Profit (EBITDA)||7847.80||7603.20||6151.00||3.22%||27.59%|
|EBITDA Margin (%)||48.70%||46.56%||40.87%|
|Depreciation And Amortization Expenses||5759.30||5559.90||5314.30|
|Profit before Interest and Taxes (EBIT)||3089.00||3352.70||1447.60||-7.87%||113.39%|
|EBIT Margin (%)||19.17%||20.53%||9.62%|
|Profit before exceptional item and tax||-583.70||165.10||-1344.00|
|Profit Before Tax (PBT)||(583.70)||485.50||(12941.10)||n/a||n/a|
|Tax paid during the year||-147.60||29.20||3520.70|
|Tax Rate (%)||25.29%||6.01%||-27.21%|
|Profit for the year (PAT)||(436.10)||456.30||(16461.80)||n/a||n/a|
|PAT Margin (%)||-2.7%||2.8%||-109.4%|
|(Amount in CR)|
|Particulars||FY 2021||FY 2020||FY 2019|
|EQUITY & LIABILITIES|
|Reserves & Surplus||56206.7||74417||69423.5|
|Total Non-Current Liabilities||153165.3||127161.9||97194.6|
|– Long Term Borrowings||135668.91||115447||87245.4|
|– Deferred Tax Liabilities(Net)||1610.7||1687.7||1129.7|
|– Other Long Term Liabilities||15383.7||9272.4||8137.2|
|– Long Term Provisions||502||754.8||682.3|
|Total Current Liabilities||111635.9||131487.59||93013.4|
|– Short Term Borrowings||27116.3||32781.1||38182.9|
|– Trade Payables||27872.1||25023.2||26313.8|
|– Other Current Liabilities||33131.5||28574||27846.6|
|– Short Term Provisions||23516||45109.3||670.1|
|TOTAL EQUITY & LIABILITIES||346027.81||360779||275156|
|Total Non-Current Assets||291274.91||284135.81||242291.8|
|– Fixed Assets(incl. Capital Work in Progress)||196299.7||198918.59||177209.5|
|-Intangible Assets under Development/R&D||1360||285.1||790.9|
|-Capital Work in Progress||4366.5||3997.2||8843.3|
|– Goodwill on Consolidation||32906.4||34619.2||33256.2|
|– Non Current Investments||23472.3||11708.6||2194.1|
|– Deferred Tax Asset(Net)||20086.4||27016||8937.9|
|– Long Term Loans & Advances||2340.2||2346.5||2879.9|
|– Other Non-Current Assets||16169.9||9526.9||17814.2|
|Total Current Assets||54752.9||76643.2||32864.2|
|– Current Investments||4078.1||13767.9||4623.2|
|– Trade Receivables||3637.7||4605.8||4300.6|
|– Cash & Cash Equivalents||13466.1||15892.7||8064|
|– Short Term Loans & Advances||0||0||0|
|– Other Current Assets||33305||42219.9||15788|
Cash Flow Statement
|Particulars||FY 2021||FY 2020||FY 2019|
|Cash Flow Summary|
|Cash and Cash Equivalents at Beginning of the year||3039.7||170.7||416.9|
|Net Cash from Operating Activities||34392.3||4026.4||10812.1|
|Net Cash Used in Investing Activities||-13223.3||-22271.5||-20455.9|
|Net Cash Used in Financing Activities||-23217.6||21114.1||9397.6|
|Net Inc/(Dec) in Cash and Cash Equivalent||-2048.6||2869||-246.2|
|Cash and Cash Equivalents at End of the year||991.1||3039.7||170.7|
Key Financial Ratios
|Particulars||FY 2021||FY 2020||FY 2019|
|Interest Cover Ratio||1.83||0.78||0.58|
|EBITDA Margin (%)||56.63||44.97||34.04|
Source: Company Financials, Capitaline Corporate Data Base, EWL Research
Bharti Airtel is one of the world’s leading providers of telecommunication services with presence in 18 countries including India, Sri Lanka, & African countries. Airtel’s portfolio includes high speed mobile broadband, Airtel Xstream Fiber with speeds upto 1Gbps, Digital TV solutions through the Airtel Xstream 4K Hybrid Box, digital payments service as well as an integrated suite of services across connectivity, collaboration, cloud & data center services, cyber security, IoT, Ad Tech & Cloud based communication.
Indian Telecom Sector has seen a rapid growth because of strong consumer demand & GOI’s liberal and reformist policies. India is the world’s 2nd-largest telecommunications market with a subscriber base of 1.20 billion and it is estimated that over the next 5 years, rise in mobile-phone penetration and lower data costs will add 50 Crore new internet users in India.
With GOI’s telecom package, it is expected that Airtel would free around Rs12000-13000 Cr of cash flow annually, which could be used to reduce debt and capital expenditure for future growth. Being one of the two leading players in this space, Airtel is capitalizing on the opportunity such as work from home, streaming of more entertainment content online, and home schooling. During FY 21, company’s revenue was up by 17.5% YoY at INR 101258.6 Cr & EBITDA margin stood at 45.86% vs. 41.06% in FY 20.
ARPU of the industry is already taken a U turn after a long time and it is expected to remain northward, the company is targeting to reach ARPU of Rs 200 levels by end of FY22 and Rs 300 by end of FY23 which is expected to strengthen the balance sheet of the company and improve cash flow for the company.
Hence, investors can Accumulate Bharti Airtel between Rs 675-710 for target price of Rs.950 with time horizon of 9-12 months.
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