Malaysian telecoms group Axiata has released its financial results for the first quarter of 2013, revealing increased net profit on the back of higher data revenues. In the three months ended 31 March 2013 Axiata generated a total turnover of MYR4.482 billion (USD1.45 billion), up 5.5% year-on-year, with the company noting that excluding foreign exchange movements growth was 8%. Notably, Axiata posted y-o-y revenue growth of 19% and 21% at its Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi subsidiaries, respectively, and while it also reported ‘slower momentum in traditional revenues’ both domestically and at its Indonesian subsidiaries, it said this had been ‘cushioned’ by strong growth in data revenues in the two countries.
EBITDA in the three-month period, however, declined by 2.4% against 1Q12 to MYR1.780 billion, with the company attributing the drop to higher costs associated with the expanding data coverage, particularly at XL in Indonesia. Profit after tax and minority interest (PATAMI) in the quarter, meanwhile, increased by 8.7% year-on-year to stand at MYR615 million in 1Q13, while at constant currency Axiata said profit would have increased by 10%. Capital expenditures in the period under review was MYR886 million, representing a 13.1% year-on-year decline.
In operational terms, at the end of March 2013 Axiata’s total subscriber base rose to 219.0 million, up 9.4% from the 200.2 million it had on its books a year earlier. All of the group’s subsidiaries reported year-on-year increases in their respective customer bases, with the biggest increase in subscribers reported in India, with Idea Cellular adding 8.9 million accesses to reach 121.6 million. Also notable was the performance of Robi in Bangladesh, which saw customer numbers climb by almost 21% y-o-y to 21.4 million.
Commenting on the results, Axiata chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Azman Hj. Mokhtar noted: ‘It has been a tough start to the year but the Group delivered resilient results. Focused execution on strategy enabled the Group to grow data significantly whilst withstanding the decline in traditional businesses and competition. We will continue to maintain execution focus on fundamentals and our long term objectives of ensuring strong profit and cash, whilst looking at more revenue growth opportunities’.