Indian impairment sees Axiata report 4Q net loss

23 Feb 2011

Malaysian telecoms group Axiata has unveiled its financial results for both the three- and twelve-month periods ended 31 December 2010, with the company posting a quarterly loss in the last three months of the years after it took an impairment charge of almost MYR1.1 billion (USD362 million) related to its investment in Indian mobile network operator Idea Cellular. In its fourth fiscal quarter Axiata reported a net loss of MYR367 million compared with a net profit of MYR558 million in the same period a year earlier, although the company noted that excluding the impact of the impairment income was up by around 22% year-on-year. Axiata did, however, note that its decision to impair was ‘based on conservative accounting standards’ and said that it did not ‘reflect Idea’s performance’. Indeed, the Malaysian group was keen to stress that Idea had increased its market share in terms of revenues in India, and said that it ‘remains committed to Idea and has every faith in its long term value.’

Full-year net income for Axiata meanwhile stood at MYR1.77 billion, lower than expectations, but still representing a 7% y-o-y increase; excluding the impairment profit was up 83% against 2009. Group revenues for the twelve-month period were up 17%, with Axiata generating total turnover of MYR15.62 billion, up from MYR13.31 billion, while 4Q revenue was up 7% y-o-y at MYR4.02 billion. The company said that the increases came on the back of continued growth in a number of its key markets, with Celcom (Malaysia), XL (Indonesia) and Robi (Bangladesh) reporting revenue growth of 8%, 27% and 31% respectively in 2010. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBTIDA) for FY2010 was MYR7.05 billion, up 30% from MYR5.42 billion in 2009.

In terms of subscribers, at the end of December 2010 Axiata reported a total customer base of 159.7 million, with Idea remaining its largest subsidiary with some 81.8 million subscribers. XL and Robi were the group’s second and third largest contributors in terms of customer numbers, with 40.4 million and 16.7 million subscribers respectively at end-December 2010.