Bharti Airtel reported its second-quarter results for the period ending September 30, 2023, yesterday, highlighting an industry-leading ARPU of Rs 203, supported by robust 4G/5G customer additions. Brokerages have swiftly analyzed and presented their views and opinions on Airtel's performance during the quarter. Let's take a quick look at what the brokerages have to say in the following story.
Jefferies stated that Airtel's encouraging performance continued in 2Q, with higher postpaid/4G subscriber additions, a higher margin in India, higher growth in Africa, and strong FCF (Free Cash Flow) generation as key highlights. Therefore, Jefferies maintained a Buy rating with a revised PT of Rs 1,085 saying although it missed profit estimates, revenue/EBITDA exceeded expectations. An improving subscriber mix is favourable for ARPU, and healthy growth is noted in India's non-mobile and Africa segments.
Goldman Sachs highlighted Airtel's robust revenue growth at 11 percent YoY and strong subscriber momentum. They raised their subscriber estimates for both wireless and home broadband while lowering near-term ARPU due to tariff hike delays. The firm maintained a Buy rating on Bharti Airtel with an increased target price of Rs 990, up from Rs 920 earlier, based on subscriber forecasts to account for continued share gains in India's wireless sector.
UBS commented that Bharti Airtel's Q2FY24 results were largely in line with minor misses compared to estimates. The report pointed out that Africa experienced a 9 percent QoQ decline, coming in 4 percent lower than estimate due to currency devaluation. Additionally, the report highlighted Airtel's net additions and the absence of tariff hikes or pricing actions during the quarter, which resulted in an ARPU of Rs 203. The brokerage also compared ARPU with competitors' growth. UBS considered it an uneventful quarter and maintained a neutral rating with a PT of Rs 1,010.
Morgan Stanley's report highlighted strong 4G net additions and postpaid additions for Airtel, EBITDA in line with India business, and a 17 percent QoQ reduction in India capex. Additionally, the consolidated net debt remained flat QoQ. The report noted that revenues in home services, digital TV services, and Airtel business were below MSe. Morgan Stanley's report also highlighted the performance of Airtel Payments Bank. The firm maintained an overweight rating with a Price Target of Rs 960.
JP Morgan's report begins with a welcome statement, saying, "Capex falls surprisingly; no surprises on ARPU." The report highlights a decrease in Capex for India wireless, even though 4G rural Capex is expected to be completed only in Nov-Dec, and the 5G urban coverage target is still five months away. The report notes that Bharti's 4G net additions improved to 7.7 million but remain below competitors, and the growth of data usage per subscriber by 3 percent QQ was lower than that of competitors. J.P. Morgan also emphasises the risk of potential loss of market share to more aggressive 5G competitor. The firm maintains an Underweight rating with a price target of Rs 785, stating that they do not expect any tariff hikes in CY23 and concluding that Bharti may not be able to monetise its significant 5G investments over the next three years.