KUALA LUMPUR: Regional telecommunication company Axiata Group Bhd reported steady revenue and improved margins in the in the first quarter, despite stiff competition in key markets.
Revenue in in the three-month ended March 31 rose 0.5% to RM6.1bil.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) growth grew 7.5% to RM2.7bil, expanding at a faster rate than sales driven by Celcom and Axiata Digital.
Net profit, however, declined 60% to RM75.5mil from RM188mil from a year ago.
The drop was due to the accelerated depreciation of RM126mil and the higher one-off gain registered in the same quarter last year.
Excluding this, profit after tax and minority interests (Patami) expanded 85% to RM231mil.
“The encouraging start to the year, as reflected by steady EBITDA growth and improved profitability is testimony that we have the right strategy in place to support our immediate to mid-term goals,” President & Group Chief Executive Officer Datuk Izzaddin Idris said in a statement today.
“I am particularly assured to see our operating companies rise up to the challenges of intense market pressures, to exhibit resilience in their capacity to stay competitive and operationally efficient,” he added.
“Whilst the results for the first quarter are encouraging, we remain circumspect in our outlook for the second quarter and beyond, especially given the resurgence of movement restrictions and its strain on economic recovery.” Chairman Tan Sri Ghazzali Sheikh Abdul Khalid said that the company will press on towards achieving its target to become The Next Generation Digital Champion by 2024.
“With the proposed Celcom-Digi merger making good headway, we are resolute in our intention to secure positive outcomes for our customers and stakeholders as Malaysia takes bold leaps in realising our digital aspirations.” he said.
Within ASEAN and South Asia, Axiata has controlling stakes in market-leading mobile and fixed operators in the region including ‘Celcom’ in Malaysia, ‘XL’ in Indonesia, ‘Dialog’ in Sri Lanka, ‘Robi’ in Bangladesh, ‘Smart’ in Cambodia and ‘Ncell’ in Nepal.