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Fitch affirms Bharti Airtel at 'BBB-'; outlook negative

Fitch affirms Bharti Airtel at 'BBB-'; outlook negative

Fitch has also affirmed Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV's senior unsecured guaranteed bonds at 'BBB-' and Network i2i Limited's subordinated perpetual bond at 'BB'.

Bharti Airtel had earlier this week announced that it will raise prepaid tariff rates by up to 25 per cent with effect from November 26 Bharti Airtel had earlier this week announced that it will raise prepaid tariff rates by up to 25 per cent with effect from November 26

Fitch Ratings on Thursday has affirmed Bharti Airtel's long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) and senior unsecured rating at 'BBB-'.The outlook on the IDR is negative, Fitch Ratings said in a statement.

Fitch has also affirmed Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV's senior unsecured guaranteed bonds at 'BBB-' and Network i2i Limited's subordinated perpetual bond at 'BB'.

"The negative outlook does not reflect our view of Bharti's underlying credit profile - which has been improving on strong growth in Indian and African wireless operations - but rather the heightened probability that India's (BBB-/Negative) Country Ceiling of 'BBB-' could be lowered to 'BB+'," the statement said.

"Such an action would constrain Bharti's IDR and senior issue ratings to BB+," it added.
Fitch has affirmed Bharti Airtel's long-term foreign currency IDR and senior unsecured rating at 'BBB-', the statement noted.

Bharti Airtel had earlier this week announced that it will raise prepaid tariff rates by up to 25 per cent with effect from November 26. In a notification to the exchanges, the operator said that decision was taken "to provide a reasonable return on capital for a financially healthy business model." 

"Bharti Airtel has always maintained that the mobile Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) needs to be at ₹ 200 and ultimately at ₹ 300," Airtel stated.

"We also believe that this level of ARPU will enable the substantial investments required in networks and spectrum. Even more important, this will give Airtel the elbow room to roll out 5G in India. Therefore, as a first step, we are taking the lead in rebalancing our tariffs during the month of November. Accordingly our new tariffs will come into effect from November 26, 2021," it added.

The current Rs 79 plan will cost Rs 99 from Friday, a hike of 25 per cent. The Rs 149 plan will cost Rs 179, the Rs 1,498 plan will become Rs 1,799 and the Rs 2,498 plan will cost Rs 2,999.