Published on 6/05/2021 12:20:15 PM | Source: ICICI Securities Ltd

Telecom Sector Update - Revenue growth fails to impress By ICICI Securities

Posted in Broking Firm Views - Sector Report| #Telecom Sector #Sector Report #ICICI Securities

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In Q4FY21, Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJio) had multiple misses on the revenue front: 1) underlying revenue growth was just 1.7% QoQ, slowest since commercial launch; 2) adjusting for FTTH, mobile revenues grew by just ~1%; and 3) digital revenues (JPL consolidated minus RJio) dipped 6.4% QoQ.

Though the company had strong subscriber (sub) addition of 15.4mn, they would have come at low ARPU, restricting revenue recovery. For FY21, RJio generated FCFE of Rs37bn (restricted due to capex of Rs261bn), which included upfront spectrum payment of Rs150bn. Net debt stood at Rs290bn and, if we include the entire spectrum commitment, it stood at Rs726bn. Capitalised capex was Rs150bn in FY21 (21.4% of revenues). We have cut our FY22E/FY23E revenues by 2.4% each year on slower revenue growth, but see tariff hike helping drive growth, likely in H2FY22E.


* Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJio) L2L revenues grew only 1.7% QoQ. In Q4FY21, revenues declined by 6.1% QoQ due to: 1) interconnect charges moving to ‘book & keep’ regime w.e.f. 1 st Jan’21, which implies nil interconnect revenues; and 2) two days’ less in the quarter.

Our L2L revenues for Q3FY21 was derived from deducting interconnect revenues, which is calculated from access charges adjusted for non-IUC revenues, and adding the Rs0.5bn received in net interconnect settlement. It shows RJio’s revenues grew by just 1.7% QoQ to Rs174bn, and L2L ARPU (excl. interconnect revenues) dipped by 0.8% QoQ to Rs138. Sub-base expanded by 15.4mn, likely helped by new tariff plan launch on Jiophone (at 18-33% discount); however, absolute ARPU (post GST) comes to just Rs46-56 (33-40% of blended ARPU) from the Jiophone users.

FTTH subs addition should have been steady at 1.8mn-1.9mn for Q4FY21 on the base of 2.1mn in Q3FY21. If we adjust for FTTH revenues, then, underlying mobile revenues should have grown at only ~1% QoQ, which indicates RJio may be running into a risk of revenue market share loss in Q4FY21.


* Engagement metrics have improved. Churn rate dipped to 1.3% (vs 1.6% in Q3FY21) improving its subs retention rate, while gross subs addition increased to 31.2mn (from 25.1mn in Q3FY21). Minutes grew 6% QoQ / 17.9% YoY to 1,033-bn, and data usage rose by 5.2% QoQ / 29.9% YoY to 16,680-bn GB.


* Network cost inflation was lower, aiding EBITDA growth. Network cost grew by only 1.8% QoQ, but increased by 26.2% YoY, to Rs57.5bn in Q4FY21. LF/SUC cost fell 4.3% QoQ despite rise in revenues, implying some likely one-off gains. EBITDA grew 2.2% QoQ / 34% YoY to Rs83bn, and net profit too grew 2.1% QoQ, though it was restricted by rise in depreciation.


* Capex (excluding spectrum) has normalised. Cash capex was Rs261bn in FY21 though it includes Rs150bn upfront payment towards spectrum. Thus, capex towards network, including cost capitalisation, was Rs111bn. Capitalised capex, calculated basis movement of fixed assets plus depreciation, was Rs150bn (21.4% of revenues) in FY21. Therefore, the difference between capitalised capex and cash capex is rise in capex creditor of Rs39bn. Capitalised capex in FY20 was Rs235bn (43.2% of revenues). However, RJio is still carrying high capital works in progress despite commercial rollout of FTTH / enterprise business, which was at Rs170bn in FY21 (but dipped from Rs213bn in FY20)


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