Astro 1Q21 earnings fall 58%

The satellite TV provider’s Ebitda and higher net finance costs also dropped


ASTRO Malaysia Holdings Bhd’s net profit for the first quarter ended April 30, 2020 (1Q21), slipped 58.09% year-on-year (YoY) to RM73.84 million from RM176.2 million in the same period last year, following higher finance cost and impact from Covid-19 pandemic.

The decrease in subscription and advertising revenues also affected revenue that fell 14.71% YoY to RM1.05 billion from RM1.23 billion recorded in the same quarter a year ago.

The satellite television (TV) provider earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (Ebitda) and higher net finance costs also declined but offset by lower tax expenses and lower amortisation of software, it said in a Bursa Malaysia filing yesterday.

In a separate statement, Astro said it raised provisions for doubtful debt and is actively engaging with affected customers to manage receivables.

Despite lower operating expenses mainly resulting from savings in content cost, earnings were impacted by unrealised foreign-exchange losses, it added.

Astro group CEO Henry Tan (picture) said Astro’s businesses were impacted by lower advertising spends and restrictions in upselling and installations.

“With most commercial establishments not allowed to operate, we proactively introduced flexible subscription and payment arrangements,” he said.

Astro chairman Tun Zaki Azmi said Astro continues to be cash generative, cost disciplined and proactive in its capital management, despite the impact of Covid-19.

Despite the fall in earnings, the company announced a first interim single-tier dividend of one sen per share, due payable on July 17, 2020.

On the outlook, Astro said households and businesses globally continue to face unprecedented social and economic disruption brought about by the pandemic.

“The group has been agile in adapting to the new normal, allowing us to deepen our engagement with our customers, strengthen our value proposition, and to seize opportunities for adjacencies in commerce, broadband, digital and over-the-top post-Movement Control Order,” it said.

Astro added it will proactively pursue disciplined cost optimisation and active capital management to further strengthen its financial position. Astro’s shares closed 0.51% or half a sen higher to 98 sen, valuing the company at RM5.11 billion.