Astro down 4% on cautious prospects


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KUALA LUMPUR (June 17): Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd fell as much as 11 sen or 4% despite posting higher first quarter profit and revenue from a year earlier.

Astro's (fundamental: 1.1; valuation: 2.1) share price fell after analysts said the pay-television operator's subscriber base decline on a quarterly basis in the first quarter ended April 30, 2015 (1QFY16) might reflect weaker results ahead.

At 10.04am, Astro erased part of its losses to trade at RM2.98 with some 2.19 million shares changing hands. The stock was transacted at RM2.97 at 10.28am.

Maybank Investment Bank research head Wong Chew Hann wrote in a note to clients today Astro had lost 5,000 pay-TV subscribers quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q). Wong also said Astro had lost 24,000 high definition and 8,000 Super Pack subscribers respectively.

"This culminated in 1QFY16 average revenue per user (ARPU) being flat q-o-q at RM99, the first time since relisting that Astro did not record ARPU growth.

"As much as the decent 1QFY16 results reflect the operations of previous quarters, we fear the weak 1QFY16 operations may reflect weaker results ahead," said Wong.

Yesterday, Astro announced to Bursa Malaysia 1QFY16 net profit rose to RM168.3 million from RM128.33 million a year earlier. Revenue grew to RM1.33 billion from RM1.25 billion.

Astro declared a dividend of 2.75 sen per share for the quarter in review.

(Note: The Edge Research's fundamental score reflects a company’s profitability and balance sheet strength, calculated based on historical numbers. The valuation score determines if a stock is attractively valued or not, also based on historical numbers. A score of 3 suggests strong fundamentals and attractive valuations.)