23 May 2012

Axiata Group's quarterly net profit rose 3% to RM 565.6 million despite impact on foreign currency translation

(AXIATA opening price today (23.05.2012) was RM 5.38)

Axiata Group Bhd made a net profit of RM565.6mil or 7 sen per share for the first quarter ended March 31, 3% higher than the RM548.4mil or 6 sen per share for the same period a year earlier.

Revenue was also higher at RM4.26bil against RM3.94bil last year.

In a statement, the telco which has a regional footprint noted that positive trends continued across all of its operating companies during the quarter under review.

“Moving forward, we are confident of delivering profitable growth and driving differentiation through innovative digital services and products. The results of this quarter are certainly a step in the right direction,” president and group chief executive officer of Axiata Datuk Seri Jamaludin Ibrahim said in the statement.

In a traditionally flat quarter all its operating companies performed well, especially against the industry, with most recording the highest ever first-quarter results, Axiata noted.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were up 4% to RM1.8bil.

At constant currency, revenue and EBITDA growth would have been higher at 10% and 6% respectively, it said.

Likewise, profit after taxation and minority interests (PATAMI), excluding foreign translation impact, was up 19% to RM652mil.

In the statement, Axiata noted that regional mobile subscribers grew 24% year-on-year to over 200 million.

Celcom, its Malaysia unit, sustained momentum into the first quarter of the year, continuing to show positive revenue growth for the 24th consecutive quarter.

Revenue was up 10%, EBITDA increased by 5% while PATAMI was up 7% in the same period.

The quarter saw Celcom retain its leadership status in mobile broadband amidst increasing competition, with a total of 947,000 broadband subscribers.

Revenue from broadband grew 15% year-on-year, now contributing 11% to total revenue. Strong growth was seen overall in non-voice services, with advanced data (excluding SMS) now contributing 22% to revenue.

In Indonesia, unit XL's revenue increased by 9% year-on-year to 4.95 trillion rupiahs driven by a strong momentum in advanced data which grew 71%, SMS at 18% and voice of 4% year-on-year.

Its Sri Lanka unit, Dialog, recorded strong growth in revenue during the first quarter to register 12.9 billion rupees, a significant increase of 18% year-on-year.

EBITDA was also up 27% in the same period to 4.5 billion rupees. Profit after tax, however, was impacted primarily by the devaluation of the Sri Lankan rupee.

Group profit after tax normalised for the exceptional (non-cash) foreign exchange loss and one-off acquisition expenses were up 85% year-on-year.

In Bangladesh, Robi Axiata Ltd's revenue was up 27% while EBITDA rose 26% year-on-year.

Subscriber soared 40% with profit after tax improving by more than 100% to116 million taka.

In India, Idea Cellular Ltd finished the year strongly as the fastest growing Indian mobile operator with a 27% year-on-year revenue growth, nearly double the industry growth rate. Idea's financial year ended on March 31. EBITDA in the period remained steady up by 26%.

Commenting on the results, an analyst from CIMB Research said they were within market consensus.

Earlier in a note to clients, CIMB Research said first-quarter telco results should be mixed. It downgraded the sector on Monday from “overweight” to “neutral” following its recent downgrade of Axiata.

Source: www.thestar.com.my


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