Astro 4Q earnings increase 17% on lower staff costs

by FARA AISYAH / Pic By HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

ASTRO Malaysia Holdings Bhd’s net profit for the fourth quarter ended Jan 31, 2020 (4Q20), increased 17.33% year-on-year (YoY) to RM138.92 million helped by lower staff-related costs.

The satellite television provider also recorded impairment of software in the corresponding quarter.

Earnings per share for the three months was also higher at 2.66 sen as revenue for the period fell 10.22% YoY to RM1.23 billion

The company announced a fourth interim dividend of 1.5 sen per share taking its full-year dividend declared in financial year 2020 (FY20) to 7.5 sen or a 60% dividend payout rate, which is below its dividend policy payout rate of at least 75%.

“Given the current heightened uncertainty, the board believes this to be the best course of action to conserve liquidity and strengthen the group’s balance sheet,” Astro chairman Tun Zaki Azmi said in a statement yesterday.

For FY20, Astro’s net profit jumped 41.56% YoY to RM655.3 million despite revenue declining 10.4% YoY to RM4.91 billion.

Separately, Astro CEO Henry Tan (picture) said the profit growth was achieved by optimising cost and strengthen- ing its position as the entertainment destination and gateway to Malaysian homes through its pay-TV, NJOI, commerce and broadband propositions.

“Our stable financials enable us to pivot our business to capture new digital opportunities in over-the-top (OTT) video streaming, radio and commerce.

“With three exclusive streaming services — Astro Go, HBO Go and iQIYI — we have the largest customer base for video streaming services in Malaysia (over 2.6 million registered users),” he said.

Astro said it remains focused on strengthening its customer value proposition and loyalty, while pursuing deeper cost optimisation and stronger anti-piracy push.

It will also leverage its customer base to build new revenue adjacencies in commerce, broadband, digital and OTT.

Astro closed one sen or 0.6% lower to 83 sen yesterday, valuing the company at RM4.33 billion.