KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 23): Axiata Group Bhd reported a fourth quarter net loss of RM309.5 million versus a net profit of RM467.24 million a year earlier, due mainly to a signficant increase in foreign exchange (forex) loss and net financing cost.
Axiata told Bursa Malaysia today its revenue grew to RM5.79 billion, from RM5.36 billion on higher income from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Cambodia operations.
Axiata's income statement showed net finance cost rose to RM900.11 million, from RM175.13 million. Included in the net finance cost was a net forex loss on financing at RM556.69 million, versus a gain of RM90.83 million.
For the full year, Axiata said net profit shrank to RM504.25 million, from RM2.55 billion a year earlier, while revenue grew to RM21.57 billion, from RM19.88 billion. The group proposed a final dividend of three sen per share, which brings full-year dividends to eight sen.
"Externally, the ringgit depreciation and volatility against the U.S. Dollar resulted in the group recording a substantial pre-tax foreign exchange (forex) losses of RM685 million at PAT (profit after tax) level, mainly due to the USD exposed debt incurred from the acquisition of Ncell," Axiata said.
Looking ahead, Axiata said cost management would be crucial to improve profitability. "The group is working towards group-wide cost management to improve group profitability; RM800 million opex (operation expenditure) and capex (capital expenditure) savings are built in our 2017 plan, as well as aiming for RM1.5 billion additional savings in 2018 and 2019," Axiata said.