BSNL to handle tower business via new firm; eyes Rs. 1,600-cr revenue

HT Correspondent

New Delhi, Nov. 22 -- The government-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is planning to set up a new company to manage its more than 70,000 telecom towers.

The company plans to give towers on lease to the private telecom service providers. In a presentation to the union communications minister Kapil Sibal, BSNL chairman and managing director RK Upadhyay said that the tower subsidiary has a potential of earning close to Rs. 1,600 crore in five years.

The company has initiated the process of appointing consultant for hiving off tower assets into a new company. The process will be completed by the end of December.

"The consultant will tell us whether we should get a strategic investor for the separate company, if formed," Upadhyay said. "The consultant will also tell what would be the market valuation of the company and whether market dynamics are in favour of a new tower firm."

The PSU is passing through financial crisis. It reported a loss of about Rs. 8,851 crore for the financial year ending March, 2012.

The company had reported losses for the first time in 2009-10 at Rs. 1,823 crore.

Its losses have increased in subsequent years.

"We are taking a number of initiatives to bring back the company on the right track," said Upadhyay. "For example, we have streamlined procurement process, improved our billing system and have started ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). All these steps will give results in the next financial year."

The company is expecting a revenue of at least Rs. 25,000 crore for the current fiscal year.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.