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Bharti Airtel spurts about 22% in four days

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Bharti Airtel rose 0.67% to Rs 442.20, extending recent steep gains on strong buying support.

Shares of Bharti Airtel jumped 21.93% in four trading sessions to its current market price of Rs 442.20, from its recent closing low of Rs 362.65 on Thursday, 14 November 2019. The stock hit a 52-week high of Rs 452.95 today.

Bharti Airtel on 18 November 2019 announced that it will appropriately increase mobile tariffs from December 2019. The telecom sector is highly capital intensive with fast changing technology cycles that require continuing investments. It is, therefore, extremely important that the industry remains viable to support the vision of Digital India, the firm said.

While continuing to provide affordable tariffs to customers, the company said it would balance the needs of the company to remain viable and thereby continue to invest in the much needed digital infrastructure and maintain the quality standards required by its customers.

Meanwhile, as per the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) data, Bharti Airtel lost 23.8 lakh users in September to take its total user base to 32.55 crore.

The telecom major reported consolidated net loss of Rs 23,044.90 crore in Q2 September 2019 compared with net profit of Rs 118.80 crore in Q2 September 2018. Total revenues rose 4.9% to Rs 21,131 crore in Q2 September 2019 from Rs 20,148 in Q2 September 2018.

On 24 October 2019, the Supreme Court of India delivered a judgement in relation to a long outstanding industry-wide case upholding the view considered by Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in respect of the definition of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) (Court Judgement). This Court Judgement has significant financial implications on the company. The Supreme Court has allowed a period of three months to the affected parties to pay amounts due to DoT.

The company is hopeful of relief and in the absence of the same, has provided for an additional amount aggregating Rs 28,450 crore as a charge for the quarter (comprising of principal of Rs 6,164 crore, interest of Rs 12,219 crore, penalty of Rs 3,760 crore, and interest on penalty of Rs 6,307 crore) with respect to the license fees estimated based on the Court Judgement and spectrum usage charges (SUC) as estimated based on the definition of AGR.

These provisions have been made without prejudice to the company's right to contest DoT's demands on facts as well as on rights available in law. Thus the liabilities/provisions as at 30 September 2019 aggregate Rs 34,260 crore (comprising of principal of Rs 8,747 crore, interest of Rs 15,446 crore, penalty of Rs 3,760 crore and interest on penalty of Rs 6,307 crore).

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday, 15 November 2019, indicated that the government intends to address the concerns of telecom companies.

"I want no company to shut operations. I want everyone to be up and running. We want the economy to have good number of companies in business and flourish in their business. Not just telecom sector, my wish is all companies in all sector(s) be able to do business, service their market customer and survive. So with that approach, the finance ministry has always been talking and in telecom too that's the approach we have taken," Sitharaman told the media.

FM also said that the Government is looking for ways to support the debt laden telecom sector.

Bharti Airtel is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 18 countries across Asia and Africa.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, November 20 2019. 13:52 IST