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Home / Industry / Telecom /  Telecom gear vendors to close FY21 on strong note

Indian telecom equipment manufacturers expanded their local as well as global footprint in 2020-21, driven by a sharp business recovery in the second half of FY21. The growth not only helped offset the losses during the covid-induced lockdown but also helped them turn profitable.

For instance, Sterlite Technologies Ltd’s (STL) order book swelled to a record 11,300 crore after the leading manufacturer of optical fibre cable signed deals worth over $100 million in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region recently.

It has also started exploring business opportunities in the US, and is looking at new customer segments, such as data centres, for expansion. STL’s revenue grew 10% year-on-year (y-o-y) in the December quarter, and it expects the momentum to continue this quarter.

“Due to challenges induced by the covid-19 outbreak and following the lockdown, revenue in the first half went down. During the pandemic, our engagement with customers increased, and we have cracked some major deals across India, the MEA, the UK and other parts of the world," said Anand Agarwal, group chief executive, STL.

Another local firm, Himachal Futuristic Communications Ltd (HFCL), nearly doubled its profit in the third quarter of 2020-21 with manufacturing capacity during July-September reaching pre-covid levels. In the nine months to December, HFCL’s revenue from the sale of optical fibres and fibre-to-the-home grew nearly 23%.

In the fourth quarter, too, the company expects to continue the growth momentum, and will focus on exports and new product launches in the next fiscal to improve revenues, margins and profit, said Mahendra Nahata, managing director, HFCL. Its order book was at 7,300 at the end of December 2020.

“Ensuing the nationwide lockdown, our operations came to a halt at all manufacturing facilities till April-end. Project implementation at various locations for different services and private telecoms was also halted during that time. It affected production at our manufacturing facilities and execution of project at various locations," he added.

According to STL and HFCL, demand for fibre surged across the globe as millions switched to fixed broadband services for work, education and entertainment during the pandemic, and the roll-out of 5G services in India will keep the momentum going.

“Networks are running at a peak globally, coupled with the large number of enterprise applications running non-stop, the high load is not likely to go down. Fibre is the backbone of the networks, whether it is 5G or fixed-line broadband. We expect fibre demand to continue to grow as our customers augment network scale, reach and quality," Agarwal added.

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