The rapid rollout of 5G services across India represents an exciting moment in our country’s development. India is one of the fastest countries to implement high-speed connectivity.

With the government’s focus on digital transformation and efforts to make that vision a reality, India is well-positioned to adopt 5G technology and realize its full potential for economic growth, innovation, and societal progress.

The rapid migration to 5G, combined with high data consumption, should continue to drive demand for passive digital infrastructure, both in terms of loading existing towers and erecting new towers.

Indus towers contribute significantly to the deployment of the infrastructure required for the widespread use of 5G technologies. Indus Towers is India’s leading provider of passive telecom infrastructure, having deployed, owned, and managed telecom towers and communication structures for a variety of telecom service providers.

Note: If you want to learn Candlesticks and Chart Trading from Scratch, here’s the best book available on Amazon! Get the book now!

telegram channel

Indus Towers has also given extraordinary returns over the past year. The share of the company soared almost 110 percent last year. The shares also hit a 52-week high on April 1, 2024, reaching ₹315.20. Just over the last three months, the shares gave almost 48 percent return.

If you are wondering about what was the reason for the good performance over the recent times, the answer is Vodafone. As of October 2023, Vodafone Idea owes Indus Towers around Rs 5,600 crore. Vodafone Idea refunded Indus Towers Rs 300 crore in January 2023.

Citi Research stated on February 27 that the fundraiser can provide additional upside for Indus Towers and would be a key aspect to monitor. The note further stated that with the fundraising, Indus Towers may potentially collect approximately half of its past outstanding debts from Vodafone Idea over the following two years.

So, let’s delve into the article to see what the future holds for Indus Towers looks like.

Corporate Overview Of Indus Towers

Indus Towers was founded through the merging of Bharti Infratel Limited and Indus Towers. With this combined strength, Indus is now one of the world’s largest telecom tower firms.

As of December 31, 2023, Indus Towers Limited operates approximately 211,775 towers and accommodates 360,679 co-locations across all 22 telecom circles in India.

Indus’ primary clients include Bharti Airtel (including Bharti Hexacom), Vodafone Idea Limited, and Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, which are among the leading wireless telecommunication service providers in India by revenue.

The telecom industry in India has undergone a significant consolidation, witnessing a reduction in the number of telecom operators from 14-15 at its peak to 5 operators today. 

Currently, Bharti Airtel Limited (“Bharti Airtel”) together with Bharti Hexacom Limited (“Bharti Hexacom”), Vodafone Idea Limited (“VIL”), and Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited are the major private telecom operators in India.

 Bharti Airtel together with Bharti Hexacom and VIL are key customers of the Indus Towers, contributing 80-85 % of the total revenue of the company

Products and Services Of Indus Towers

Tower

To Mount the Operator Antennae at an Appropriate Height, Indus Towers deploys the passive physical infrastructure required to house our customers’ active equipment, which includes the base transceiver station, transmission connection, and microwave antenna.

Towers range from typical lattice structures (such as ground-based towers, rooftop towers, or poles) to artistically designed lightweight hybrid poles, monopoles, or camouflaged towers that blend into the background. 

Power

For Providing Uninterrupted Energy Supply to Telecom Equipment, Indus Towers offers unique energy solutions that cost-effectively power customers’ active equipment.

Wherever practicable, the towers are fueled by grid energy from state electrical boards. Diesel is used when reliable grid energy is unavailable.

Space

For Housing Telecom and Power Equipment, Indus Towers gets the necessary space from residential and commercial property owners – our landlords – to place the passive infrastructure in advantageous areas. The company also works with landlords throughout the entire process of hosting telecom infrastructure on their premises.

Tower Operations Center (TOC)

The Indus Tower Operations Centre (TOC) is a cutting-edge facility that is meant to meet one of the most basic needs for company wide operations. The TOC centralises activities to provide round-the-clock surveillance services to all of Indus’ telecom facilities across India.

Financials Of Indus Towers

FY2023FY2022FY2021FY2020
Revenue (in ₹crore)28,38227,71713,9546,743
Net Profit (in ₹crore)2,0406,3733,7793,299
ROE9.66%28.77%23.80%24.35%
ROCE12.25%25.63%15.25%17.21%

In the fiscal year 2023, Indus Towers saw an increase in revenue, surging by 2.4% to reach ₹28,382 crore as opposed to ₹27,717 crore in FY2022. Analyzing a span of four years, encompassing FY2020 to FY2023, the company displayed a  Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 61.46% in revenue.

On the other hand, there was a noteworthy downturn in net profit, experiencing a 68% decrease from ₹6,373 crore in FY2022 to ₹2,040 crore in FY2023.

In FY23, Indus Towers maintained favorable financial metrics with a Return on Equity (ROE) of 20.21% and a Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) of 25.71%.

Future Plans Of Indus Towers

5G led Tenancy Additions

Indus Towers added 2163 tenants and exited 856. As a result, a net increase of 1307 co-locations was seen, aided by some pickup due to network expansion. In 1466, the tower addition was in good condition.

Lean towers (not shown in occupancy and tower counts) increased by 1408 during Q3, compared to 1535 in Q2. So far, the business has built ~5683 slimmer towers and plans to accelerate with the 5G rollout. 

It is vital to note that, while Indus is hoping for continuing robust traction based on network transformation due to data demand growth and competitive coverage, tenancy addition and exits should be closely monitored. The installation of lean towers/small cells, etc., must also be evaluated for their potential impact on growth.

VIL’s Impact on Working Capital

The company’s receivables decreased by approximately ₹1427 crore QoQ to ₹5062 crore due to provisions for doubtful debt. Adjusted for that, debts increased by ₹862 crore QoQ. 

The management stated that VIL had recommended making a partial payment of the billed amount until December 31, 2022, and that it planned to begin paying the full amount, together with earlier dues, between January and July 2023.

While it had paid a portion of its dues until December 2022, the payment picture for 2023 is cloudy, with no new payment plan proposed. The provision included an unusual charge of ₹493 crore for the impairment of the revenue equalisation reserve for Vodafone Idea dues.  

The management stated that the majority of VIL’s former debt had been compensated for. It is important to remember, however, that VIL will need to generate significant funds in order to compete in the marketplace and satisfy its vendors’ dues deadlines.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Indus Towers is well-positioned to benefit from the rapid 5G rollout in India. However, the company’s future growth and profitability will hinge on factors such as successful tenancy additions, efficient tower management, and the resolution of Vodafone Idea’s outstanding dues. What are your thoughts on Indus Towers’ prospects in the evolving 5G landscape? Do you foresee any challenges or opportunities that could significantly impact the company’s trajectory?

Written by Nalin Suriya

By utilising the stock screenerstock heatmapportfolio backtesting, and stock compare tool on the Trade Brains portal, investors gain access to comprehensive tools that enable them to identify the best stocks, also get updated with stock market news, and make well-informed investments.


Start Your Stock Market Journey Today!

Want to learn Stock Market trading and Investing? Make sure to check out exclusive Stock Market courses by FinGrad, the learning initiative by Trade Brains. You can enroll in FREE courses and webinars available on FinGrad today and get ahead in your trading career. Join now!!