Bharti Airtel is set to announce its September quarter results of FY21 (Q2FY21) on Tuesday amid expectations that the telecom operator’s losses should shrink and revenue rise on year-on-year (YoY) basis, helped by firm subscriber addition and ARPU rise in an otherwise seasonally weak quarter. Commentary on ARPU trajectory and non-wireless business will be key monitorables.
For the entire sector as well, ICICI Securities expects a stable quarter for telecom companies. The brokerage sees both subscriber and average revenue per user (ARPUs) remaining firm given return of migrants to cities, continued higher data usage and thereby pack upgrades and improved availability of recharges both digitally/physically as cities/towns have largely restarted post lockdowns.
Last week, Bharti Airtel’s Africa operations, Airtel Africa, posted an 8.8 per cent YoY fall in net profit to $88 million in the quarter ended September as compared to net profit of $57 million in the previous quarter. Its revenue grew 19.6 per cent YoY in constant currency to $965 million.
At the bourses, Bharti Airtel dipped 24.8 per cent in the quarter under review. In comparison, the S&P BSE Sensex gained 9 per cent in the same period, ACE Equity data show.
Here’s what leading brokerages expect from Airtel’s Q2FY21 numbers:
According to analysts at Emkay, Airtel’s India wireless revenues shall rise sequentially, boosted by a 43 lakh increase in data subscribers vs stable data subscribers in the last quarter. The brokerage expects ARPU to rise 1 per cent QoQ, accompanied by return of some voice subscribers in the base.
Overall, Airtel’s Q2FY21 revenue is likely to rise 17 per cent YoY (up 3.2 per cent QoQ) to Rs 24,716.1 crore from Rs 21,131.3 crore reported in Q2FY20 while net loss may contract to Rs 107.3 crore from Rs 23,045 crore reported in Q1FY21. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and ammortisation (Ebitda) is seen rising 22 per cent YoY to Rs 10,773.7 crore from Rs 8,637.2 crore in the year-ago quarter.
“Data volume shall continue to accrue benefits of the lockdown and rise 7.5 per cent QoQ. The home broadband segment is likely to continue to see increased traction. Ebitda margins shall expand only 11bps sequentially to 43.6 per cent, due to Covid-19-related cost saving in SG&A coming back in the base,” the brokerage said.
The brokerage expects subscriber addition of around 30 lakh for Airtel in the quarter under review, driven by reverse migration of labourers to cities. Notwithstanding seasonality, it sees Airtel’s ARPU witnessing around 2 per cent QoQ growth at Rs 160, aided by higher data based usage upgrades.
Further, Indian wireless revenues are expected to witness 2.6 per cent QoQ growth at Rs 13,213 crore. The company’s India non-wireless revenues traction, especially broadband and enterprise, is expected to remain robust. Consequently, among the headline numbers, consolidated revenues are expected to be up 2.5 per cent QoQ at Rs 24,526 crore (up 16.1 per cent YoY) while net loss may contract to Rs 167 crore.
On the operational front, the brokerage expects sequentially flattish India Ebitda margins at 44.3 per cent. Reported Ebitda at Rs 10,660 crore is expected to grow 2.4 per cent QoQ (up 20.6 per cent YoY) with margins expected at 43.5 per cent, flattish sequentially.
Kotak Institutional Equities
Meanwhile, Kotak Institutional Equities sees Bharti Airtel moving into the black in Q2FY21 with net profit of Rs 75.7 crore, helped by 1.2 per cent sequential rise in ARPU.
The brokerage expects 3.5 per cent sequential rise in Airtel’s India wireless revenues and 4 per cent QoQ growth in Ebitda. “As offline recharge activity is likely to have improved (post the Covid-led disruption in the previous quarter), we expect reported subs to be higher by 2.9 million QoQ,” it said. Business Standard