Malaysia-based telecoms group Axiata has published its financial results for the three months ended 30 September 2020, reporting a ‘strong rebound’ in the period under review as movement restrictions in its countries of operation eased. In the three-month period under review the telco recorded a total turnover of MYR6.11 billion (USD1.5 billion), down from MYR6.21 billion a year earlier, but representing a 5.5% increase from the MYR5.79 billion the group booked in Q2 2020. Of note, Axiata claimed that in June 2020 revenue for all of its operating companies (OpCos) bar Ncell in Nepal was ‘largely back to ‘pre-lockdown’ levels’, while by September revenue for all OpCos (again bar Ncell) was recorded at higher than pre-lockdown levels.
Positive movement was also seen in EBITDA, which increased both on an annual and quarterly basis, rising to MYR2.84 billion in 3Q20 (3Q19: MYR2.80 billion), while Axiata claimed that an EBITDA margin expansion had been ‘driven by cost excellence’. With operating expenditure declining by 4.2% year-on-year on the back of a MYR396 million savings from a group-wide cost excellence programme, the group’s EBITDA margin increased to 46.5% in 3Q20, compared to 45.1% in the corresponding quarter a year earlier. Meanwhile, it highlighted a notable rise in net profit, which rose to MYR374 million in 3Q20, up from MYR255 million a year earlier, driven by, among other things, ‘a combination of positive revenue growth and strong EBITDA growth from cost excellence’.
Tan Sri Ghazzali Sheikh Abdul Khalid, Axiata’s chairman, said of the third-quarter performance: ‘The financial results for the third quarter has provided some respite amidst an incredibly difficult year. Given the heightened macro uncertainties as governments reimpose lockdowns and curfews, the Board is vigilant in ensuring the right systems are in place for robust risk management to ensure alignment with industry and regulatory standards and expectations.’