Telekom Malaysia returns to the black in 3Q on lower opex

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 26): Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) returned to the black in the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2019 (3QFY19), with a net profit of RM261.31 million compared with a net loss of RM175.59 million a year ago, on the back of lower operating cost from the group’s various cost optimisation initiatives.

It reported an earnings per share of 6.95 sen for 3QFY19 compared with a loss per share of 4.67 sen for 3QFY18.

Revenue for the quarter, however, fell 3.2% to RM2.85 billion from RM2.95 billion a year ago.

For the cumulative nine months (9MFY19), TM's net profit surged 718.9% to RM683.77 million from RM83.5 million a year ago. Stripping off non-operational items, normalised net profit stood at RM810.9 million, up 53.7% against the same period last year.

This was despite a 3.8% decline in revenue for the period to RM8.4 billion from RM8.73 billion in 9MFY18, mainly due to lower contribution from all lines of products except data and non-telecommunication related services.

In a bourse filing today, TM said total capital expenditure (capex) was within guidance at 8.8% of revenue or RM736 million. "Out of the amount spent, 16% was made for core network, 58% for access and the balance 26% was made for support system." it added.

Reviewing its quarterly results, TM group chief executive officer Datuk Noor Kamarul Anuar Nuruddin said overall, the utility giant saw continued improvements in its fundamentals in 3QFY19.

"We have managed to keep a closer eye on our operational efficiencies to deliver sustained profitability with lower year-to-date opex (operating expenditure)/revenue.

"However, in line with sector contraction, our revenue challenges still persist on the retail front, in line with our expectations and 2019 market guidance," he said in a separate statement.

On prospects for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2019, Noor Kamarul said the group's performance improvement initiatives and efficient cost management continue to improve profitability.

"Our focus remains toward our customers, and to strengthen the group's performance by investing to improve customer experience across segments to grow our revenue," he said.

At the midday break today, TM shares gained 0.27% or 1 sen to RM3.73, valuing it at RM14.05 billion.