by NG MIN SHEN
Axiata Group Bhd recorded a net profit of RM24.73 million in the fourth-quarter ended December 31, 2017 (4Q17) against a net loss of RM309.50 million posted the year earlier.
The telecommunications group attributed the turnaround to strong improvements in revenue from its mobile operating entities in Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh.
Revenue for the quarter rose 8.1% to RM6.26 billion from RM5.79 billion registered a year ago.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) climbed 17.5% to RM2.3 billion in 4Q17 from RM2 billion previously, boosted by revenue growth and cost optimisation across the group.
“Our two largest operations, Celcom Axiata Bhd and XL in Indonesia, delivered as planned, while Dialog Axiata plc in Sri Lanka continued to perform.
“We’re very happy that the turnaround at Celcom is showing results – as at end-2017, all the key performance indicators are moving in the right direction, but we still have a lot of work to do,” Axiata president and group CEO Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim told a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur today.
The telecommunications group declared a dividend of 8.5 sen per share for the full year, which translates to a 64% dividend payout ratio compared to 50% in 2016.
For the financial year ended December 31, 2017 (FY17), the group’s net profit jumped 80.4% to RM909.48 million from RM504.25 million recorded the year before.
Full-year revenue was 13.2% higher at RM24.40 billion versus RM21.56 billion achieved previously, boosted by strong contributions across all the group’s mobile operating companies.
On the possibility of a re-merger with Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM), Jamaludin said that the two had previously de-merged “for certain reasons and those reasons are still true”.
“We wouldn’t have demerged if we knew it would be beneficial for both of us. Frankly, I don’t think it’s something that can happen immediately. It’s complex stuff. We demerged for a reason and the factors behind the demerger still apply today,” he said.