Malaysia’s Axiata cited ‘operational resilience despite continuous pandemic impacts’ as it published its financial results for the six months ended 30 June 2021. For the period under review Axiata said that reported revenue had increased by 5.3% year-on-year, to MYR12.454 billion (USD2.9 billion), while reported EBITDA increased by 8.2%, to MYR5.503 billion, ‘on the back of contributions from domestic unit Celcom and Axiata Digital, offset by forex translation impact due to strengthening of the Ringgit against operating companies’ (OpCo) currencies’. Axiata recorded a profit after tax and minority interest (PATAMI) of MYR353 million in the first half of 2021, a notable uptick against the MYR268 million it reported in corresponding period a year earlier, noting that it had seen an uplift from higher EBITDA and lower net finance cost, with this partially offset by lower one-off gains compared to last year, and accelerated depreciation of 3G assets at Celcom and Bangladesh subsidiary, Robi.
Meanwhile, Axiata said that an evaluation of underlying performance showed ‘healthy’ year-to-date revenue growth excluding device at MYR12.061 billion (up 7.2% y-o-y), supported by contributions from all OpCos except XL in Indonesia, which it said was ‘dragged by intense competitive pressures’, and Ncell, where there was lower International Long Distance (ILD) revenue. EBITDA increased to MYR5.503 billion (+11.2%) on an underlying basis, with margin expansion of 1.2pp, largely attributable to contributions from Celcom, Axiata Digital, Sri Lanka’s Dialog and tower company edotco. Underlying PATAMI surged to MYR521 million, from MYR172 million in H1 2020.
Commenting on the group’s performance, Dato’ Izzaddin Idris, President & Group Chief Executive Officer of Axiata said: ‘We are pleased to have closed the second quarter with robust growth across all metrics despite continued challenges in the business environment due to extended lockdowns. This recovery period puts us in more favourable territory, as we execute measures to add capacity and modernise networks as well as support digital inclusion and transformation across the region.’