Malaysia’s Axiata has reported ‘strong growth supported by robust data demand and digitalisation’ as it publishes its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2021. For the twelve-month period under review the company reported a 7% year-on-year increase in revenue to MYR25.901 billion (USD6.2 billion), driven by all of the group’s operating units – bar Nepal-based Ncell. In terms of underlying performance at constant currency levels, Axiata reported revenues excluding devices of MYR25.511 billion for FY21, up from MYR23.555 billion in the previous fiscal year.
In terms of other key financial metrics, Axiata reported EBITDA of MYR11.404 billion for FY21, an annualised increase of 7.0%, while in underlying performance terms EBITDA was up 8.5% y-o-y at MYR11.564 billion. Meanwhile, on a reported basis net profit improved ‘significantly’, rising to MYR819 million, up from MYR365 million in FY20, which the company attributed to higher EBITDA, lower accelerated depreciation and net finance cost, offset by one-off items including Ncell’s goodwill impairment and lower one-off gains. Axiata’s capital expenditure totalled MYR7.236 billion in FY21, a notable increase from the MYR5.330 billion recorded in FY20, with it noting in particular an increase in CAPEX at its Indonesian subsidiary, XL Axiata, which increased from MYR1.767 billion in 2020 to MYR2.915 billion a year later.
Looking ahead, Axiata has said it expects revenue growth in FY22 to be ‘mid single digit’ at constant currency rates, with EBIT growth forecast to be ‘high single digit’. CAPEX in 2022 is expected to total MYR7.1 billion.
With regards to operational indicators, Axiata said there had been a ‘strong recovery with positive subscriber momentum’ at domestic unit Celcom; that operator added more than 900,000 mobile subscriptions in the year to 31 December 2021, to bring its total to 9.595 million, up from 8.678 million a year earlier. Meanwhile, other noteworthy developments included Bangladesh’s Robi increasing its mobile subscription total by more than 5% y-o-y, to 53.673 million at end-2021, while Ncell added more than one million subscriptions in 2021 to reach a total of 16.842 million.
Commenting on the company’s performance in 2021, Axiata chairman, Tan Sri Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, said: ‘Emerging from a very challenging year, Axiata’s growth in 2021 reflects well on our move to expand from a pure play mobile focus to include digital and infrastructure businesses. We continue to embrace digitisation and analytics at the core of this transformation to effectively identify shifting consumption patterns.’