Telecom stocks in focus: Voda Idea hits record low, Bharti Airtel dips 1%

Telecom majors Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel were under pressure, slipping up to 9 per cent in the morning deals on the BSE on Thursday, after rating agencies underlined concerns emerging from the Supreme Court's ruling in the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) case. 

Individually, Vodafone Idea hit a fresh all-time low of Rs 3.48 apiece, down 8.6 per cent in the intra-day deals, after rating agency CARE downgraded its long-term loans and debentures ratings from “A” to “A-”. The agency also placed the rating "under watch with negative implications". The stock breached its previous low of Rs 3.66 touched on October 25. 

"The revision in long-term ratings factors in the SC’s recent ruling that telecom players have to include non-core revenues in their AGR to calculate their license fee dues. Based on the court order, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) can now raise its demand from Vodafone Idea to Rs 28,309 crore," CARE said. READ REPORT HERE

Meanwhile, shares of Bharti Airtel touched an intra-day low of Rs 364 per share, down 1.1 per cent on the BSE after ratings agency Fitch placed the company's 'BBB-' Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) on "Rating Watch Negative" (RWN).

"The RWN reflects uncertainty on the amount and timing of unpaid regulatory dues in favour of the DoT and might have to shell out unpaid dues on licence fees of $3 billion. There may be another demand of $2.9 billion in unpaid dues on spectrum usage charges," it said. READ HERE

The agency has also placed Bharti's and Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV's senior unsecured bonds and Network i2i's subordinated perpetual bond's on RWN.

At 10:30 am, Vodafone Idea was trading 7 per cent lower at Rs 3.54, while Bharti Airtel was trading 0.49 per cent lower at Rs 366.45. About 137 million and 4.2 million shares, respectively, changed hands on both these counters till the time of writing of this report. In comparison, the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was trading 0.54 per cent higher at 40,268 levels. In the past one week, Vodafone Idea has fallen 32.5 per cent, while Bharti Srtel has gained 2 per cent. In comparison, the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was up 2.5 per cent.

In another development, Reliance Jio on Wednesday attacked incumbent operators, saying it disagreed with “the threatening and blackmailing tone” of the Cellular Operators Association of India's (COAI) letter which said the judgment on the AGR will lead to a "monopoly in the sector and the government’s digitisation programme will suffer".

A top executive of Jio said: “We do not agree to the contention of the incumbents that they are not in a financial position to pay their legitimate dues.” In its letter, Jio said, “operators have capacity and enough monetisation possibilities to comfortably pay government dues”. READ REPORT HERE

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel