Axiata 3Q revenue hits record high

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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on November 25, 2016.


KUALA LUMPUR: Axiata Group Bhd’s revenue for the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2016 (9MFY16) hit a record high after incorporating Nepal’s earnings, with higher contributions from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Cambodia, coupled with a positive translation impact.

Revenue came in 7.7% higher at RM5.46 billion, compared with RM5.07 billion a year ago. Its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) grew 12.3%, as margins strengthened by 1.5 percentage points to 38.3%, its bourse filing yesterday showed. Net profit came in at RM256.56 million compared to RM891.39 million a year ago. But quarter-on-quarter, lower depreciation and amortisation (D&A) and net finance costs — besides lower foreign exchange (forex) losses — led to its profit after tax improving by 27.3% to RM296 million.

In the 9M period, revenue gained 8.6% year-on-year to RM15.8 billion, while Ebitda gained 13.4% to RM6 billion. Net profit, however, was at RM813.75 million, compared with RM2.09 billion a year ago, due to incremental D&A, and the fact that the previous year had recorded one-off gains from PT XL Axiata Tbk (XL) .

The 9MFY16 results was also due to higher net finance costs from XL’s refinancing of US dollar debt to rupiah, and the acquisition of Ncell, besides higher forex losses from a weaker ringgit and lower contribution from associates and joint ventures.

Axiata chairman Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said: “We are pleased with the improvements in revenue and Ebitda, though the group performance continues to be affected by the weaker operating environment and increased competitive pressures across our markets. We remain especially focused on management’s plans for recovery and turnaround strategies at XL and Celcom.” Separately, Axiata has appointed UEM Group Bhd group managing director Datuk Mohd Izzaddin Idris to its board as a non-independent, non-executive director.