Axiata sees higher dividend

  • Business
  • Friday, 24 Feb 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: Axiata Group Bhd, which reported a higher net profit of RM544.5mil for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2011, has given an indicative dividend payout ratio of 65% for 2013.

Axiata has proposed dividend payout of 19 sen per share in the financial year ended Dec 31, 2011 (FY11), representing a 60% payout ratio; doubled from last year's 30%.

“There is no change in this year's dividend payout ratio. Last year was 30% and this year is 60%. We have indicated that we will increase it progressively,” president and group CEO Datuk Seri Jamaludin Ibrahim said at a briefing to announce its FY11 financial performance.

He stressed that the 65% dividend payout ratio was just indicative as it would subject to a number of factors including its actual performance for the current FY12, cash flow and capital requirements among others.

In the fourth quarter, Axiata reported a net profit of 6 sen per share compared with a net loss of RM367mil, or loss per share of 4 sen a year ago, due to impairment charges on investment in India.

Revenue for the quarter grew to RM4.26bil.

For FY11, Axiata's net profit jumped 32.5% to RM2.34bil from RM1.77bil in FY10. Its revenue grew 5.3% to RM16.4bil.

Jamaludin said overall Axiata had a good year although its performance was below its headline key performance indicator (KPI) considering a significant forex impact, heightened competition, investment in data and changes in revenue mix.

Its headline KPI for revenue and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were not met while its return on invested capital target for FY11 was marginally lower.

For FY12, Axiata is targeting 5.3% revenue growth and a 1.8% increase in EBITDA.

“Our operating companies have performed very well. Investment in data, changes in revenue mix and foreign exchange impact have somewhat impacted its margin,” he said, adding that data margin was lesser compared with voice but the latter had reached saturation.

The group's total subscriber base expanded to 199.1 million, up 25% from a year ago.

In FY11, Celcom Axiata Bhd posted a record profit of RM2.01bil on the back of 6% growth in revenue to RM7.2bil driven by data and mobile broadband. For FY12, Celcom will enhance its focus on mobile data. Work has already begun on improving network quality and capacity for better customer data experience.

PT XL Axiata Tbk's revenue increased 7% to 18.92 trillion rupiah driven by strong momentum in data. Its EBITDA increased to 9.3 trillion rupiah while net profit remained stable at 2.8 trillion rupiah.

Meanwhile, Axiata has allocated RM4.4bil for capital expenditure (capex) this year, mainly to expand its data network coverage while Indonesia would be talking bulk of the budget.

Jamaludin said capex, however, would moderate from 2013 onwards as the peak for its spending was in FY11 and FY12.

Earlier, the Indian Supreme Court ruled that all the 122 2G telecoms licences granted in 2008 would be scrapped including that of Axiata's 19.7%-owned Idea Cellular Ltd. It was reported that these licences were said to have been issued in 2008 under the influence of bribery and violation of rules.

Jamaludin said the group was not impacted by the decision as Idea Cellular's contribution was negligible.

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