Fitch has removed Rating Watch Negative (RWN) from Bharti Airtel’s ratings.
The move comes as Airtel appears to be more stable to offset debt in 2021, with equity injection of $2billion in January 2020 and expected growth in Airtel’s operating profit and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the year ending March 2020.
The firm said that financial year (FY) 2021 would be more than sufficient to offset the increase in debt to pay regulatory dues of up to $4.9 billion coming from adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues.
Further, Fitch’s estimates suggest that Airtel’s funds from operations (FFO) adjusted net leverage will improve to 2.3x-2.4x in FY20 and to around 2.0x in FY21 excluding $6.3 billion in deferred spectrum costs below 2.5x, the threshold above which it may consider negative rating action.
The agency attributed that the equity injection alleviated pressure on the telco’s balance sheet resulting from the high regulatory-dues obligations.
The agency expects that the revenue would grow by 8 per cent in FY20 and 16 per cent in FY21 which will mainly be driven by tariff increases and subscriber addition, and the telco would pay $4.9 billion of regulatory dues in the fourth quarter (Q4) of FY20.
Further, its EBITDA is expected to increase by 20-25 per cent a year in FY20 and FY21 due to easing competition in the Indian wireless market and continued strong growth in its African markets and Indian enterprise segment.