Astro’s second-quarter earnings down 34.8%

PETALING JAYA: Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd’s net profit for its second quarter ended July 31 dropped 34.81% to RM87.13 million from RM133.65 million in the same quarter of the previous year, mainly due to the decrease in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) and higher net financing costs, offset by lower depreciation of property, plant and equipment and tax expenses

Its revenue slipped 2.81% to RM1.06 billion from RM1.09 billion previously, mainly arising from decrease in subscription revenue and merchandise sales, offset by an increase in advertising revenue and sales of programming rights. Revenue continues to be impacted by Covid-19 pandemic.

It has declared a second interim single-tier dividend of 1.5 sen per ordinary share in respect of the financial period ending Jan 31,2022 amounting to RM78.21 million to be paid on Oct 20. The entitlement date for the dividend payment is Oct 6.

For the six months ended July 31, Astro’s net profit rose 10.06% to RM228.37 million from RM207.49 in the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year mainly due to lower depreciation of property, plant and equipment and lower net financing costs, offset by decrease in ebitda.

Revenue for the period down 1.03% to RM2.12 billion from RM2.14 billion previously, mainly due to a decrease in subscription revenue and merchandise sales, offset by higher advertising revenue and sales of programming rights. Revenue during the period continued to be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Astro chairman Tun Zaki Azmi said Astro’s H1’22 results remained resilient amid prolonged lockdown.

“Astro continued to be cash generative, cost disciplined and proactive in its capital management,“ Zaki said in a filing to the bourse.

Astro group CEO Henry Tan said even though Astro recorded a 10% growth in H1’22 Profit after Tax and Minority Interests (patami), the continuing lockdown and elevated content cost arising from the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and Uefa Euro 2020 impacted its Q2’22 patami.

“We are pushing ahead with our transformation plan and our ambition to be the number 1 aggregator of the best streaming services. Today we have one million connected boxes, of which over 400k are on the Ultra and Ulti Boxes, including the recently launched self-install Ultra Plug & Play Box that runs solely on broadband.

“In H1’22, our broadband base grew 89% y-o-y as more customers bundled broadband with their content packages for greater convenience and value. Soon we will be providing more options to further strengthen our broadband and digital offerings,” Tan said.

He said significant near term challenges remain as the Covid-19 pandemic continues. The prolonged pandemic will impact the Malaysian economy, commercial enterprises and the consumer wallet with consequential effects for Astro’s revenue, particularly in the areas of advertising, enterprise and residential subscription revenues.

“However, the rollout of the nationwide vaccination programme and subsequent relaxation of restrictions is paving the way for economic recovery. Given these uncertainties, the group will continue to monitor and assess business conditions, whilst prudently managing costs to ensure sustainable operations and business performance,“ he said.