Axiata’s 3Q earnings hit by forex loss

By FARA AISYAH / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Axiata Group Bhd’s net profit for the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2018 (3Q18), fell 44.63% year-on-year (YoY) to RM132.07 million mainly due to pretax earnings, higher unrealised foreign-exchange (forex) loss from translation of US dollar-denominated loan, as well as higher finance cost.

In an exchange filing last Friday, the telcommunications group noted a pretax profit of RM2.17 billion in the quarter from RM2.48 billion profit in 3Q17.

Revenue for the quarter decreased to RM6 billion from RM6.2 billion a year ago.

Revenue from its Malaysian business segment increased 9.6% YoY to RM1.81 billion driven by growth in prepaid revenue.

Pretax profit dropped by 21.3% YoY to RM488.2 million due to the impact from the adoption of Malaysian Financial Reporting Standards 15 and provision for the Employee Life Plan (voluntary separation scheme).

Net profit for the segment decreased to RM195.2 million as a result.

Its local infrastructure business segment’s revenue and pretax earnings registered a strong growth of 10.3% YoY and 27.3% YoY to RM402.4 million and RM195.1 million respectively.

Net profit doubled to RM83 million in the period from higher top line coupled with forex gains that were partly offset with higher depreciation charges.

President and group CEO Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim (picture) said the company was significantly challenged by the ringgit and regional currency depreciation.

Its loans in US dollar were affected, while operating company (OpCo) currencies depreciating impacted dividend payments to the group.

“Despite these external challenges, the group continued to demonstrate steady underlying business performance. On a year-to-date (YTD) basis, all the six OpCos performed the best in their respective markets in terms of revenue growth.

“We are confident of riding the waves and broadly hitting our headline key performance indicators (KPIs) for the year,” he said in another statement.

He added that PT XL Axiata Tbk’s transformation strategy has resulted in positive spillovers as reflected in its performance, especially in revenue growth.

Following the completion of the SIM registration exercise, the company expects to see an improved competitive landscape in Indonesia in spite of the currency and interest rate volatility, as well as sustained growth momentum in Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Nepal.

Celcom Axiata Bhd’s focus on high value customers continued to yield results, as its postpaid business recorded RM5 growth in average revenue per user YTD from RM83 to RM88.

Its revenue grew 3% on the back of a 2.1% increase in service revenue, driven by growth in prepaid and postpaid business.

Pretax earnings YTD dipped 4.5% affected by a one-time internal employee restructuring cost and the change in revenue mix, while Celcom’s profit after tax, amortisation and minority interest decreased 30.8% mainly due to the one-time gain from the disposal of 11street in 2017, higher depreciation and amortisation charges and one-off charge on restructuring.

As at 3Q18, its LTE and LTE-A population coverage stood at 90% and 78%.

Meanwhile, XL delivered a solid quarterly performance with revenue growth of 5.6% in 3Q, demonstrating wins from its transformation efforts and data monetisation and a direct result of improved market conditions upon the completion of prepaid SIM registration in Indonesia.

XL’s data revenue, which accounts for 74% of its service revenue YTD, is the highest in the country driven mainly by a strong data-led product proposition and continuous network investments.

As a result of these milestones, pretax earnings expanded 8.8% quarter-on quarter compounded by gains from cost efficiencies.

XL’s normalised net profit YTD was impacted its 4G network expansion, which saw service now being made available in 387 cities with over 28,000 4G base transceiver stations.

Axiata also announced the appointment of Khoo Gaik Bee as independent non-ED effective Jan 1, 2019.