Malaysia-based Axiata said it felt the ‘full impact of COVID-19 … in 2Q20, particularly in April’, as it reported a 5.9% year-on-year drop in revenue, to MYR5.792 billion (USD1.4 billion), for the three-month period ended 30 June 2020, while year-to-date turnover was down by 2.4%, at MYR11.829 billion. According to the company, all of its operating units have been affected by the pandemic on ‘two major fronts’, namely subscribers’ accessibility to pre-paid reloads due to the closure of outlets and ‘foregone revenue from free data and bonus recharge offered to customers’.
Group EBITDA was broadly flat in the first half of 2020 at MYR5.088 billion, with Axiata noting EBITDA growth from Indonesia’s XL, Robi in Bangladesh and Smart in Cambodia, as well as its tower unit edotco. The company also cited ‘disciplined focus on controlling costs’ as being behind the stability in EBITDA in the first half. Second quarter EBTIDA, however, declined by 3.2% on an annualised basis to MYR2.584 billion. Net profit, meanwhile, slumped by almost 72% in 1H20, when compared to the same period a year earlier, to MYR555 million, ‘mainly due to higher depreciation and amortisation, foreign exchange losses and lower one-off gains’. Second quarter net profit was down 48.7%, at MYR156 million.
Commenting on the group’s performance, Axiata’s chairman, Tan Sri Ghazzali Sheikh Abdul Khalid, said: ‘The second quarter of 2020 stress tested Axiata’s fundamentals and strategies as our operations grappled with the triple blows of the resultant health crisis, and financial and socioeconomic fallouts. Despite the various unprecedented impacts to business, Axiata’s steady results for this quarter is a strong testament of the Group’s agility and resilience, stemming from solid fundamentals and meticulously planned future-proofing moves.’