Vodafone Idea’s net loss narrowed to Rs 7,218 crore in the second quarter of financial year 2021 on account of lower provisioning but flat revenue, and subscriber loss. Limited 4G conversions also continued to weigh on its performance.
In the same quarter last year, Vodafone Idea had posted a record Rs 50,921 crore net loss due to Rs 25,677-crore-plus provisioning for adjusted gross revenue dues. Exceptional items in the preceding quarter were Rs 767 crore on account of integration and merger-related costs and impairment of assets.
While rival Bharti Airtel reported highest-ever quarterly revenue due to customer additions and high data volumes, Vodafone Idea’s revenue remained flat on sequential and year-on-year basis. The telecom company reported revenue of Rs 10,791 crore in the second quarter of FY21.
Also, finance costs grew 26 per cent to Rs 4,700 crore on year-on-year. Lenders are seeking an increase in interest rate because of rating downgrades and the company said its ability to continue as going concern depends on successful negotiations with banks for refinancing of loans and guarantees.
Operationally, it was a weak quarter as Vodafone Idea's subscriber base declined to 271.8 million in in the second quarter of FY21 from 279.8 million in Q1FY21. Subscriber churn increased to 2.6 per cent (versus 2.0 per cent in Q1FY21).
The telecom company reported 4.3 per cent sequential increase in average revenue per user (ARPU) to Rs 119 in the second quarter. The number of 4G subscribers increased 2 per cent to 106 million sequentially, but data volumes declined in the same period.
“While we continue to face Covid-19 telecom challenges, Q2FY21 showed signs of recovery with a gradual improvement in economic activities. We are executing on our strategy and our cost optimisation exercise has already started to yield incremental savings. We have also initiated a fund raising exercise to support our strategic intent. Further, we continue to interact with the government seeking long term solutions to the critical challenges, which the industry faces,” Vodafone Idea managing director Ravinder Takkar said.
Vodafone Idea has adjusted gross revenue liability of Rs 58,254 crore after the apex court rejected the telecom company's plea for reassessment of dues.
Vodafone Idea has so far paid Rs 7,850 crore towards AGR dues. “The cumulative amount paid by us till date exceeds 10 per cent of the total liability and accordingly, we believe, the next instalment would be payable only by March 31, 2022,” the company said.
On Indus-Bharti Infratel merger, the company said it would monetise its 11.15 per cent stake in Indus Towers on completion of the said merger. “The value of Vodafone Idea’s 11.15 per cent stake equates to a cash consideration of approximately Rs 38 billion (Rs 3,800 crore) currently,” it said.
The company recently unveiled a new brand identity 'Vi', as the struggling telco looked to rediscover itself post the apex court's ruling on past statutory dues.