Astro 3Q net profit falls 8.33% to RM113.4m

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KUALA LUMPUR: Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd net profit fell 8.33% to RM113.41 million in the third quarter ended Oct 31, 2014 (3QFY15) from RM123.71 million a year ago, due to higher tax expenses, amortisation of software, and higher depreciation of property, plant and equipment.

However, the higher tax expenses — by RM15.1 million — was primarily due to a reversal in overprovision of tax amounting to RM9.8 million in the corresponding quarter, its filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday showed.

Its marginally weaker financials resulted in its earnings per share slipping to 2.25 sen from 2.40 sen a year ago. Nevertheless, the media and entertainment company still declared a third interim dividend of 2.25 sen per share, to be paid next Jan 12. This brings the total dividend for the nine months of FY15 (9MFY15) to 6.75 sen per share, 12.5% higher than the 6.0 sen per share in 9MFY14.

Its revenue for 3QFY15 was RM1.28 billion, up 5.24% from RM1.22 billion a year ago, mainly due to the higher subscriptions and other revenue of RM56.7 million and RM11.7 million respectively, though this was offset by a decrease in advertising revenue of RM4.7 million.

“The increase in subscription revenue is attributed to an increase in average revenue per user (Arpu) for Pay-TV residential subscribers of RM2.90 (from RM95.60 to RM98.50) and an increase in number of Pay-TV residential subscribers by 77,000 (3,401,900 to 3,478,900),” said Astro.

“Astro is now in 62% of Malaysian households, with a total customer base of 4.3 million. Our relevance remains with choices ranging from our free TV, Njoi, to Pay-TV, as well as Astro on the Go and OTT (over-the-top) content,” said Astro chief executive officer Datuk Rohana Rozhan (pic), in a press release.  

She added that Arpu growth of 3% to RM98.50 was driven by customers’ take-up of value-added services.

“We saw strong demand for HD (high definition) service with over 1.9 million subscribers, a 45% increase in Personal Video Recording service to 679,000 subscribers and a 29% rise in multi-room customers to 372,000,” she said.

Astro’s 9MFY15 net profit was 12.73% higher at RM379.4 million from RM336.56 million in 9MFY14; revenue for the period was also up 9.98% to RM3.88 billion from RM3.53 billion a year ago.

“In a soft advertising market, we aim to strengthen our relevance to advertisers by building on ratings mechanism analytics, coupled with growing TV viewership and radio listenership. Astro’s total advertising revenue rose by 4% year-on-year to RM440 million,” Rohana added.

Astro closed 1 sen or 0.3% higher at RM3.33 yesterday, giving it a market capitalisation of RM17.43 billion.

 

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on December 12, 2014.