Although Bharti Airtel
has not tied up funds for the same, this liability, if materialises is expected to be funded through a bridge loan, which would result in deterioration in debt coverage metrics in near term.
This provisioning follows the communication from Department on Telecom (DoT) that mandated the operators to pay the license fee and other dues after carrying out their own assessment within timeline stipulated by the Supreme Court. Moreover, additional provisioning related to indemnities to be paid to certain investors of Airtel Africa is also a credit negative, ICRA
said in a rating rational.
Despite debt reduction followed by deleveraging attempts (and some on the anvil), the coverage metrics continue to remain weak as reflected by gross debt/OPBDITA of 3.95 times (annualised for H1FY2020). However, this is expected to go up further, if the AGR related liability crystalizes and is funded through borrowings, it added.