In a first, Bharti Airtel Ltd crossed ₹3 trillion in market capitalisation on Thursday, becoming the country's 12th company to achieve this milestone.
In the session so far, the stock hit a fresh record high of ₹552.85 on the BSE, up 3.1% from its previous close, with a market capitalisation at ₹3.01 trillion. The Sensex rose 0.33% to 41,280.36 points.
Airtel has gained 21.18% so far this year, having advanced 95% since February 2019.
With this, the telecom major has joined the likes of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), HDFC Ltd, and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) among others, to breach this mark.
Mukesh Ambani-led RIL remains India's most valued company market cap of ₹9.15 trillion followed by TCS and HDFC Bank with ₹8.05 trillion and ₹6.8 trillion respectively.
In February, Airtel reported narrowing of its losses quarter-on-quarter. For October-December, the telecom major reported a loss of ₹1,035 crore, less than the ₹23,145.60 crore loss posted in the September quarter, as the company set aside funds to pay adjusted gross revenue dues to the government to comply with the Supreme Court verdict. Consolidated revenue from operations rose by 8.5% to ₹21,947 crore. Consolidated EBITDA grew 5% quarter on quarter to ₹9270 crore led by lower network cost.
"The recent price hike, along with healthy 4G subscriber adds, improved ARPU, which in turn led to an increase in EBITDA. Further, moderating network opex (operating expenditure) and capex (capital expenditure) resulted in healthy annualized FCF", said Motilal Oswal in a note to its investors.
Airtel’s monthly average revenue per user from mobile services in India rose to ₹135 in the December quarter from ₹128 in the previous quarter. Its subscribers increased by 3.6 million to 283 million. Company’s net debt reduced by ₹3360 crore to ₹84800 crore (excluding lease liability). The company generated operating free cash flow (FCF) of ₹4170 crore.
"Airtel reported strong 3Q with Mobile ARPU up 5% QoQ and mobile margins +110bps QoQ... The key for the sector going forward is the level of elasticity in data usage. While we expect Bharti's market share and ARPU to increase, it already trades at 8x FY22E EV/EBITDA. Given our view of data elasticity, we expect ARPU increase post current hike to be gradual", said Jefferries India in a note to its investors.