Tag - telecom

We will remain as third private telco, not turning into a PSU – Vodafone Idea

Update on Indian Equity Market:

On Thursday, the benchmark Nifty50 made a record high of 17,844 and closed at 17,823 (+1.6%). BAJAJFINSV (+4.6%), HINDALCO (+4.5%), and LT (+3.7%) led the gainers. HDFCLIFE (-1.1%), DRREDDY (-1.0%), and JSWSTEEL (-0.6%) led the laggards. Among the sectoral indices, REALTY (+8.7%), FINANCIAL SERVICES (+2.3%), and BANK (+2.2%) led the gainers. MEDIA (-1.7%) was the only sector that ended in the red.

Excerpts of an interview with Mr. Ravinder Takkar, MD & CEO, Vodafone Idea (IDEA) published in Business Standard on 23rd September 2021:

  • The recent telecom package suggests the government recognizes the importance of the telecom industry. Also, it recognizes that competition in the industry is important and does not want a monopoly or a duopoly.
  • While the company has always stated it wants to be the third player, there have been questions around its survival. With the reforms, there is no reason to believe that Vodafone Idea will go away and the telecom market will have less than three players.
  • The four-year moratorium on the spectrum and AGR (adjusted gross revenue) dues will allow the company to make investments and continue to focus on the network. Their 4G network covers 1bn people currently and there is a potential opportunity to increase by 100-150mn. The company plans to increase its capacity, provide a great experience and introduce new services by deploying cash saved due to the moratorium.
  • The reforms package has addressed investor concerns and Mr. Takkar believes it’s a great opportunity to get external funding. The funding can come from new investors, existing promoters, or a mix of both.
  • The talks of Vodafone Idea being converted into a PSU or the government having a role in running the company are incorrect. The government wants the management of Vodafone Idea to run it efficiently and competitively.
  • The tariff has been one of the biggest challenges in the industry and pricing has been used as a tool to kill competition, gain market share, and create a scenario of stress.
  • To fix the industry, pricing has to improve and that has been the company’s stance for a long time. The reforms have created the right environment for price increases. Price increases will come soon and it will be gradual so that there isn’t a huge shock for the customers.
  • There are two elements in ARPU (average revenue per user per month) – pricing and customer mix. The difference with the competitor’s ARPU is due to the mix of customers. Vodafone Idea has a higher proportion of 2G customers. As migration from 2G to 4G happens, the ARPU is expected to improve. As pricing in the industry goes up, ARPU will go up for everyone.
  • The ARPU in India needs to increase to ₹ 200 as it was five years ago, and eventually increase to ₹ 300 for the industry to be sustainable.

Asset Multiplier Comments

  • The government’s relief package provides 4 years of moratorium on AGR and spectrum dues which are expected to reduce the payment burden for Vodafone Idea significantly. With the option to convert deferred dues into equity, the worst-case scenario is the company would be owned by the Government, which ensures survival.
  • Though the government’s relief package has provided a much-needed breather for the Company, it has to accelerate capex in 4G to recoup some of the lost market share. Additionally, increasing ARPU would help in strong cash generation.

Consensus Estimate: (Source: market screener website)

  • The closing price of IDEA was ₹ 10.6/- as of 23-Sept-2021. The consensus estimates of loss per share for FY22E/FY23E/FY24E are ₹ 9.2/ 6.8/ 6.0 /-.
  • The consensus target price is ₹ 6.5/-.

Disclaimer: “The views expressed are for information purposes only. The information provided herein should not be considered as investment advice or research recommendation. The users should rely on their own research and analysis and should consult their own investment advisors to determine the merit, risks, and suitability of the information provided.”

SBI Cards IPO to hit the market this quarter: SBI Chairman

Update on the Indian Equity Market:

On Tuesday, NIFTY ended positive at 11,979 (+2.3%). The top gainers in NIFTY were TITAN (+7.3%), Infratel (+5.7%) and IOC (+5.6%). ZEE (-5.3%), Bajaj Auto (-3.8%) and Yes Bank (-2.8%) were the top NIFTY losers. All the sectors were in the green. The top sectoral gainers were Metal (+3.3%), Financial Service (+2.9%) and Realty (+2.8%).

Excerpts from an interview with Mr Rajnish Kumar, Chairman, State Bank of India (SBI) that was published in Economic Times on 03rd February 2020:

  • SBI believed that no one needed an insurance cover as far as deposits in SBI are concerned. But as far as the system is concerned, after the problems with the cooperative bank which happened in Mumbai, there was a demand that the limit for insurance cover which was set some 27 years ago needs to be revised. This move was much needed and will create more confidence in the minds of the people about banks.
  • AGR Telecom problems: According to him, the matter is sub judice and will be waiting for the Supreme Court decision. The hearing is on 4th February. He thinks and believes that the matter will ultimately be sorted out to the satisfaction of both the parties – the government and the telecom operators. He had a general discussion with a lot of people in the telecom sector where they hinted that they will have at least three to four large telecom operators and the country cannot be served with a lesser number of telecom operators. This has given Mr Kumar  confidence and hope that this matter will get sorted out.
  • Barring one HFC account, things are looking up at least on the corporate recovery front.  This HFC account was in trouble, and SBI was readying for it since September and had started providing for it. Mr Kumar had said in the past that from the recovery and resolution perspective, December and March quarters are likely to be very good for the banking system. SBI is expecting some good resolution and implementation of resolution plans in respect of a couple of large accounts.
  • The loan growth for SBI was around 7% in this quarter coming from their international banking book. There is more demand for foreign currency borrowings from Indian corporates. The retail story is intact and SBI is growing very well. The only thing is the corporate sector demand revival. The loan pipeline is fairly good. As these loans get disbursed, FY21E growth numbers may turn out to be better than FY20. The utilization of limits definitely improved in the last two months and SBI may end up somewhere around 9% YoY growth.
  • The loan processing fee has improved significantly on a QoQ basis for SBI. It indicates that during the December quarter, SBI has processed more proposals. The loan pipeline is of more than Rs 1 lakh crore and all of these loans will get disbursed eventually over the next six months and that is a good indicator from a recovery point of view.
  • SBI Card valuation: According to him, the penetration of credit cards in India is very low and as the economy develops, there will be demand for credit and credit cards. At the same time, SBI card business is growing decently. SBI IPO is expected to happen in this quarter.
  • He said that the move by the government to divest stake in IDBI Bank and list LIC are two measures that stand out in this year’s budget.

Consensus Estimate: (Source: market screener website)

The closing price of SBI was ₹ 306/- as on 4-February 2020. It traded at 1.2x/ 1.1x/ 1.0x the consensus book value of ₹ 249/ 280/ 317 for FY20E/ FY21E/ FY22E respectively.