Bharti Airtel to go slow on capex in Q1FY21 amid Covid-19 crisis, Q4 loss.
After spending over Rs 11,000 crore as capital expenditure in the January-March quarter of financial year 2019-20 (Q4FY20), Bharti Airtel will “go slow” on capex in the current quarter.
Bharti Airtel reported a consolidated net loss of Rs 5,237 crore in Q4FY20 against a net profit of Rs 107.2 crore in the corresponding quarter last year. However, there was a surge in demand for internet services towards the end of the reporting period because of the nationwide lockdown announced on March 25, forcing the government and private firms to ask employees to work from home.
Total capex spend for the quarter was Rs 11,339 crore, an official statement by the company said. “We added more than 4,500 sites during the quarter and close to 30,000 mobile broadband base stations.
We deployed a range of technologies to improve experience, shut down 3G networks in many more circles to re-farm this spectrum to 4G and substantial capacities being added to the core and transport infrastructure.
This is normally a lumpy investment and we believe that front loading of this investment has been prescient as we were able to deliver an exceptional experience during Covid-19 despite seeing a massive surge in consumption,” said Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO for India and South Asia, in a post earnings analysts call. He added this was the reason the capex was much higher in the quarter and should moderate in the coming quarter.
Airtel said the firm had undertaken a capex investment of Rs 25,359 crore on a consolidated basis during the year to ensure superior customer experience.