New Delhi, Nov 23 (PTI) Rating agency Moody's has upgraded Bharti Airtel’s credit rating outlook to positive from stable, reflecting improvement in its financial performance and growth potential.
Moody's has affirmed Bharti's Ba1 corporate family rating (CFR) and senior unsecured rating, and the Ba1 rating on the backed senior unsecured notes issued by Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV.
"The outlook change to positive reflects Bharti's improving operating performance and credit metrics which, if sustained, could support an upgrade to investment grade within the next 12-18 months," Moody's Senior Vice President Annalisa Di Chiara said.
Moody's said that Bharti's Ba1 CFR rating considers the company's position as one of the largest telecom service operators globally in terms of subscribers (471 million), its solid market position in India's (Baa3 stable) high-growth mobile market and its large spectrum holdings.
"Bharti's proven ability to access capital markets and the benefits of its strong and supportive shareholder base are also reflected in the ratings," the report said.
The upgrade comes a day after the company took the lead in announcing a hike in mobile call and services rates in the range of 20-25 per cent.
"The continued expansion of profitability, particularly at its core Indian mobile business, together with a steady reduction in its balance sheet debt is needed to mitigate the potential effect on Bharti's credit metrics of significant investments in 5G and the compounding growth of deferred liabilities during the moratorium period," Di Chiara said. PTI PRS BAL