Bharti Airtel Ltd became the twelfth Indian firm to cross 4 trillion in market capitalisation after its shares hit a fresh record high on Wednesday, gaining over 43% so far this year.

The stock hit an all-time high of 729 on the BSE and gained as much as 5% intraday. At 1.10pm, the scrip was at 728, up 5% from its previous close.

Earlier, Reliance Industries Ltd, Tata Consultancy Services, HDFC Bank, Infosys Ltd, Hindustan Unilever, HDFC Ltd, ICICI Bank, Bajaj Finance Ltd, ITC Ltd, State Bank of India and Kotak Mahindra Bank have achieved this milestone.

Telecom stocks have been trading higher over the last few sessions amid expectations of a relief package from the government for the sector. Vodafone Idea surged over 45% in the last ten sessions. Bharti Airtel advanced over 23% in the last 12 sessions. Reliance Communications climbed over 33% in the past two weeks.

Media reports suggest the union Cabinet is mulling various steps to ease the stress plaguing the telecom sector. A four-year moratorium on AGR and spectrum payments, and reduction in spectrum usage charge (SUC) and licence fee are the key relief measures.

“We believe policy support alone cannot be efficacious in absence of a significant tariff hike and capital-raising by VI. Considering VI’s large liabilities are falling due, not to mention JioPhone Next’s impending launch, the sooner the government measures as well as tariff hikes are rolled out, the better it is,” said Edelweiss Securities in a note to its investors.

“VI’s inability to invest in the network gives Bharti Airtel (Bharti) and RJio room to further gain market shares,” Edelweiss Securities report added.

Last month, Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal made a passionate pitch for a hike in tariffs and cut in government levies to save the telecom industry. Mittal had said that the levies and load on industry need to be brought down for India to truly realise its digital vision.

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By Marek

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