Astro posts softer Q1 earnings on lower ebitda, forex loss

PETALING JAYA: Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd’s net profit for the first quarter ended April 30, 2022 fell 29.19% to RM100.02 million from RM141.25 million a year ago on mainly due to the decrease in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) and higher net financing costs due to unrealised forex loss from unhedged lease of transponder.

“Ebitda margin decreased by 2.5% against the corresponding quarter. This is mainly due to higher content costs, marketing and market research expenses and broadband costs, offset by lower merchandise costs and license, copyright and royalty fees, as a percentage of revenue,” the group said.

The group recorded revenue of RM962.09 million, a decrease of 10.33% compared to RM1.06 billion in the preceding year corresponding quarter mainly due to the decrease in subscription revenue and merchandise sales.

The group has declared fourth interim single-tier dividend of 1.5 sen per share in respect of the financial year ended Jan 31, 2022.

On outlook, Astro remains cautiously optimistic and will continue to monitor business conditions, whilst prudently managing costs.

“Having transitioned into the endemic phase, the nation’s economy is expected to recover. However, recovery is expected to be uneven with headwinds from intermittent Covid-19 waves, supply chain disruption leading to cost-push inflation, further interest rate hikes, and near term market volatility resulting from current geopolitical events,” it said in a statement.

Astro group CEO Henry Tan stated that the group will continue to invest in transformation plans, in particular content, broadband, streaming, customer experience, data, addressable advertising and technology infrastructure to simplify processes and to better serve its customers.

“The Copyright (Amendment) Act 2022, which was gazetted in February 2022, is a major step forward in addressing digital piracy, resulting in criminalisation of the sale of Illegal Streaming Devices; and the distribution or sharing of unauthorised copyright content through applications, websites, and hyperlinks by any party through messaging applications or social media platforms,” he added.