|MUMBAI: Vodafone Idea, India’s newest and largest telecom operator, will on November 14 announce its first results since its inception, with analysts predicting a sizeable loss in its fiscal second quarter ended September 30, dragged down by low subscriber additions and rising 4G network expansion costs.|
Brokerages IIFL Institutional Equities and ICICI Securities have pegged Vodafone Idea’s estimated net loss at around Rs 2,600 crore, though Credit Suisse has projected a lower number of Rs 1050.5 crore. Revenue is estimated to be in the range of Rs 7,813-8,106 crore for the September quarter.
The telco is also expected to shell out penalty charges to the tune of Rs 3,000-3,500 crore for exiting tower contracts which will add to its financial burden. “The company’s capex investments, plans of revenue growth, investor guidance and provisions for bad debt and its 4G expansion chart will be closely tracked,” said Sandip Das, senior advisor at Analysys Mason.
He further said that industry watchers will also need to keep in mind that the merger has just been completed and the company is still in the “regrouping phase”. Vodafone India and Idea Cellular completed their merger in August end this year to create the country’s largest telco by subscriber base and revenue share. But in September, amid a continuing price war with Reliance Jio, Vodafone and Idea separately lost 2.6 million and 4 million subscribers, respectively, according to Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) data.
As per earlier estimates, the new entity had started its operations with a combined debt of Rs 1.09 lakh crore at the end of June, and a cash balance of Rs 19,300 crore after equity infusion by the parents of both telcos.
“The synergy benefits from the merger, absolute profit before tax (PBT) and how it has fared compared to competition will be important,” said SP Tulsian, founder of Premium Investments. Bharti Airtel its fourth straight profitable quarter, with an 11.3% expansion sequentially in the bottom line for the July-September period on the back of strong user additions and increased data usage.
But Airtel managed to spring a surprise net profit on a consolidated basis in the second quarter, helped by one-time exceptional gains, but losses worsened for India operations as higher costs compounded the woes for the erstwhile market leader which also lost customers in a fierce price war with Jio.