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Hope to turn profitable in FY’20, not before: BSNL CMD

State-owned BSNL says it is likely to swing into profit in financial year 2019-20, a year later than previously estimated, as stiff competition has squeezed margins.

According to BSNL Chairman and MD Anupam Shrivastava, “market disruption” and fall in tariffs have dashed hopes of clocking profit in 2018-19 and BSNL intends to focus sharply on gaining subscriber market share and growing enterprise business to protect revenue over the coming quarters.

“In this financial year, it won’t be possible…because the market has disrupted a lot and many companies are in red. We hope that in 2019-20 we will be able to swing into net profit,” Shrivastava said.

BSNL, which offers mobile, landline and broadband services across India (except Delhi and Mumbai where MTNL operates) is yet to announce 2017-18 financial results.

Shrivastava said BSNL had gained market share at a time when rival private operators had seen that metric static.

“We gained customers from companies that were closing operations. We did a mid-course correction. We realised that in this disruptive market, there is no point in focusing solely on revenue but also customer market share…we were able to do both,” he said.

BSNL’s loss stood at Rs 4,786 crore in 2016-17, marginally lower than Rs 4,875 crore in 2015-16. The losses, in fact, have narrowed sharply from Rs 8,234 crore in 2014-15.

BSNL’s total revenue was been pegged at about Rs 32,000 crore and revenue from operations at about Rs 28,000 crore in 2016-17, with EBITDA at about Rs 1,700 crore, he said.

“While the number are still to come out for 2017-18 , we expect that EBITDA should remain in positive territory in spite of competition in market. We also expect to reduce net loss through lower expenditure…We expect to maintain our revenue (at same level as last year) during 2017-18,” he said.

In 2018-19, the focus would be on maintaining and growing customer market share and accelerating the momentum on the enterprise business, which is growing at a steady pace, he said.

“In 2018-19, we are going to grow our revenue on the back of the enterprise business, infrastructure sharing, collaboration for FTTH (Fiber to the home) and other services,” Shrivastava said.

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