Airtel advertising on a shop front in Mumbai: AFP
Airtel advertising on a shopfront in Mumbai: AFP

Shares in India’s leading mobile phone service provider Bharti Airtel fell early Friday after Moody’s Investors Service placed the telecom major’s rating on review for downgrade.

Bharti Airtel share opened at 293.25 rupees on Friday on National Stock Exchange, after a previous close of 306.35 rupees on Thursday. The scrip, however, recovered and was trading at 300.50 rupees at 11.15 am.

Moody’s on Thursday placed on review for downgrade the ‘Baa3’ issuer and senior unsecured rating of Bharti Airtel. ‘Baa3’ is the lowest investment-grade bond rating, and any downgrade would put the rating in a speculative grade.

The brokerage cited Bharti Airtel’s low levels of profitability, particularly from its core Indian mobile operations, and expectations of weak cash flow.

Last month, the telecom major posted a fall in consolidated net profits for the tenth straight quarter as losses in India business widened due to pricing pressure from aggressive competition unleashed by Reliance Jio, owned by India’s richest man Anil Ambani.

Reliance Jio’s JioPhone, a 4G smartphone, is hurting Airtel, which is losing millions of subscribers, especially among those on its 2G network.