by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by BLOOMBERG
ASTRO Malaysia Holdings Bhd’s net profit for the third quarter ended Oct 31, 2021 (3Q22), declined 35.62% to RM105.92 million from RM164.53 million a year ago.
In a filing to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, the group noted that the lower net profit was mainly due to the decrease in Ebitda, offset by lower net financing costs, tax expenses and amortisation of software.
Quarterly revenue fell 7.64% to RM1.02 billion from RM1.11 billion previously, dragged by a decrease in subscription, advertising revenue and merchandise sales, offset by an increase in sales of programming rights, as well as the impact from Covid-19 pandemic.
The group registered an earnings per share of 2.03 sen for the period against 3.15 sen in 3Q21.
Astro has declared a third interim dividend of 1.5 sen per share, in which the entitlement date for the dividend is on Dec 24 and is payable on Jan 7, 2022.
For the cumulative nine months ended Oct 31, 2021, Astro’s net profit declined 10.14% to RM334.29 million from RM372.02 million a year earlier, while its nine-month revenue was down 3.28% to RM3.14 billion from RM3.25 billion.
On a segmental basis, Astro noted that its TV segment registered a revenue of RM896.1 million for 3Q22, which was lower by 5.3% against the corresponding quarter of RM946.1 million, mainly arising from a decrease in subscription and advertising revenue, offset by an increase in sales of programming rights.
Radio’s revenue for the current quarter continued to be impacted by Covid-19 pandemic which resulted in a drop of RM17.7 million or 35.3% compared to the corresponding quarter.
Home-shopping’s revenue for 3Q22 reduced by RM16.9 million or 15.3% to close at RM93.8 million compared to the corresponding quarter of RM110.7 million, primarily due to more cautious spending by customers.
Moving forward, Astro said the recent signing of access and wholesale agreements with Telekom Malaysia Bhd lays the foundation for Astro to become an Internet service provider, further strengthening the product bundling proposition and value that it will be able to bring to its customers.
It added that the group continues to invest in its transformation plans, particularly broadband, streaming, customer experience, data, addressable advertising and technology infrastructure to simplify its processes, reduce overheads and most important, to better serve our customers.
Astro also noted that the reopening of the economy is expected to have a positive impact on business in general, with improved prospects for the advertising and enterprise businesses.
“However, the recent emergence of a new Covid-19 variant of concern may impede the overall rate of recovery.
“The group remains cautiously optimistic and will continue to monitor business conditions, whilst prudently managing costs,” it said.
In a separate statement, Astro group CEO Henry Tan said the group’s 3Q22 results remained resilient despite the lockdowns.
He noted that Astro continued to be cash generative, cost disciplined and proactive in its capital management.
Meanwhile, Tan said the group’s aggregation strategy execution is well on track and Astro has recently launched the all-new Astro experience, with Netflix being the first of many apps to be integrated directly onto Ultra Box, allowing our customers to stream content from these apps seamlessly.
“Over 500,000 homes are already on Ultra and Ulti Boxes, including the self-installed ‘Plug & Play’ version that runs solely on broadband.
“Meanwhile, Astro Go has one million monthly active users with average weekly viewing time of 4.2 hours, while On Demand videos streamed grew 189% to 387 million,” he said.
Tan also added that Astro’s broadband base increased 83% in the February to October period as more customers bundled broadband with content for convenience and value.
Shares of Astro closed 2.12% or two sen higher to RM0.96 yesterday, valuing the group at RM5.01 billion.