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Voda Idea surges nearly 100%, Airtel 20% in 3 days; can telecom be a turnaround theme?

Debt-ridden telecom operator did not disclose the quantum of hike in tariff it is planning.

ETMarkets.com|
Updated: Nov 19, 2019, 03.46 PM IST
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On the other hand, Bharti Airtel gained as much as 5.29 per cent to Rs 430.80 in the early trade, taking its three-day gains to nearly 19 per cent.
NEW DELHI: Shares of Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel are on a winning spree on Dalal Street. Both telecom companies offered double-digit returns in the past three sessions despite posting record losses in the second quarter ended September 30.

Vodafone Idea climbed 35 per cent in Tuesday’s trade, extending its three-day gains to nearly 100 per cent. The stock gained as the telecom firm said it will raise mobile services rates from December 1 in the wake of the ongoing financial stress.

The scrip hit an intraday high of Rs 6.39 in today’s trade against the close of Rs 2.95 on November 14. “To ensure that its customers continue to enjoy world-class digital experiences, Vodafone Idea will suitably increase the prices of its tariffs effective December 1, 2019,” Vodafone Idea said in a statement. The shares of the company closed 34.68 per cent higher at Rs 6.02 on BSE.

Debt-ridden telecom operator did not disclose the quantum of hike in tariff it is planning.

Last week, the company reported a consolidated loss of Rs 50,921 crore - the highest ever loss posted by any domestic company - for the second quarter ended September 30, on account of liability arising out of the Supreme Court order in the adjusted gross revenue case.

On the other hand, Bharti Airtel closed 7.36 per cent higher to Rs 439.25 in trade, taking its three-day gains to nearly 19 per cent.

Airtel on Monday also said that it will start raising rates for services in December to make the business viable.

The telecom sector is highly capital intensive with fast-changing technology cycles that require continuing investments and therefore, extremely important that the industry remains viable to support the vision of Digital India, it said.

From an investment perspective, Saravana Kumar, CIO at Essel Mutual Fund believes that telecom could be a turnaround theme. “We believe quality telecom companies may do well going forward. The sector has seen lots of disruption in the past three years because of a new entrant. Now the government is realising the need of having quality three to four players in the system. Emerging telecom operators may do well and this is subject to getting assistance from the government of India.”

On the robust performance of Bharti Airtel in the past one year, Hemang Jani, Senior Vice President, Sharekhan told ETNow that there are some factors behind this entire rerating and up move in the stock.

“One is that definitely there is a possibility of the government giving some kind of a moratorium to the telecom companies on the payment of the Rs 28,000-odd crore AGR dues that they have to pay to DoT. Secondly, sanity returns as we are hearing the news that both Vodafone and Bharti would consider a price hike. We do not yet know the quantum but when you see a price hike after a gap of so many years, there is going to be definitely a positive sentiment around it,” he said.

Jani further added that for a company like Bharti Airtel, there is an under ownership both at the retail and institutional level because of the issues that they were grappling with. There could be a sense of urgency as far as some of the institutional investors are concerned to own stocks like Bharti.

“Combination of these factors are playing out. We too have revised our price target upwards to about Rs 440 and we think that the next couple of years are going to be extremely positive for Bharti Airtel,” he said.


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