Axiata posts lower net profit of RM188.11m in Q1

KUALA LUMPUR: Axiata Group Bhd has posted a lower net profit of RM188.11 million for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020, compared with RM725.17 million in the same period last year.

Revenue rose to RM6.04 billion from RM5.95 billion.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the telecommunications company attributed the 1.5 per cent higher revenue to better performance from all operating companies except mobile operations in Malaysia and Nepal.

Despite better top lines, the group’s net profit fell mainly due to higher depreciation and amortisation, foreign exchange loss in the current quarter as opposed to foreign exchange gain in the first quarter last year and lower one-off gains.

“In the current quarter, Indonesia recognised a one-off gain from the sale and leaseback of telecommunication towers of RM420.3 million as opposed to the first quarter last year, when the group had recognised a one-off gain on disposal of non-strategic investments for a total of RM415.4 million,“ it said.

Whilst COVID-19 has a limited impact on Axiata’s financial results in the first quarter 2020, the group is diligently monitoring its ongoing financial and operational impact on its businesses across the region.

Moving forward, given the uncertainty surrounding the depth and duration of this pandemic and the difficulty in predicting the pace of recovery at this point, the group is withdrawing its guidance on 2020 Headline Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

To recap, Axiata had on Feb 21 announced the group expects revenue growth to be between 3.5-4.5 per cent in the 2020 financial year, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation growth between 4.0-5.5 per cent and return on invested capital between 5.5-6 per cent.

“Notwithstanding these uncertainties, Axiata has further strengthened its liquidity position with the completion of Syndicated Multi-Currency Shariah-compliant sustainability-linked financing facilities of US$800 million on May 8 this year, which will be utilised for working capital and/or refinancing purposes.

“The group’s key focus in 2020 is to conserve cash via disciplined cost management and capex efficiency during the crisis, whilst also building a war chest for opportunities in the ‘new norm’,“ it added. -Bernama