Malaysia-based telecoms group Axiata has revealed its financial results for the three months ended 30 September 2011, posting a 7.7% year-on-year drop in net profit. In the company’s third fiscal quarter of 2011 it recorded a profit after taxation and minority interests (PATAMI) of MYR589.62 million (USD184 million), down from MYR639.13 million in the same period a year earlier. The company, however, noted that normalised PATAMI growth for the period in review would have been 0.3% y-o-y, citing continued operational improvements. Group turnover meanwhile rose to MYR4.19 billion, representing a 6.5% annual growth rate, driven Axiata said, by its domestic and Indonesian subsidiaries in particularl. In 3Q11 Malaysia’s second largest cellco by subscribers, Celcom Axiata, reported revenues of MYR1.83 billion, up 6% against the corresponding period in 2010, while Indonesia’s XL saw an 8% y-o-y increase in turnover to IDR4.83 trillion (USD530 million). A stronger Malaysian currency meanwhile was cited as continuing to have a negative foreign exchange translation impact. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the three-month period stood at MYR1.82 billion, a drop of 0.8% against 3Q10, while EBITDA margin also declined, which Axiata attributed to the stronger ringgit.
In operational terms, at the end of September 2011 Axiata claimed that its total subscriber base, including Idea Cellular in India, stood at 186.9 million, up from 148.8 million a year earlier. While associated company Idea registered the largest number of net additions (5.1 million), XL posted the next largest increase, adding 4.5 million new customers over the period, and bringing its total to 43.4 million; the result reversed two consecutive quarters of subscriber declines for the Indonesian cellco, and pushed its total base higher than a previous peak of 40.4 million, registered back at end-December 2010.
Commenting on the results, Dato’ Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, Axiata’s president and CEO, noted: ‘I am quite pleased to see sequential improvements across almost all OpCos in the third quarter, despite an increasingly difficult operating landscape … Although traditional voice revenues are slowing in our more mature markets, data growth has been extremely encouraging. Celcom and XL in particular have seen good traction in the segment. To support growth opportunities in data, we are embarking on several initiatives which include our IT transformation, across the group, as well as investment in data network. This will have an impact on EBITDA in the short term but we are confident of success in the longer term.’