Astro shares fall as profits slump 93%


KUALA LUMPUR: Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd’s shares fell 4.8% in early trade Thursday after the company reported a 93.3% slump in profit in the second quarter ended July 31, 2018.


The pay-TV operator, is one of the top losers, shedding 4.82%, or eight sen to RM1.58.


Astro’s earnings dropped in the second quarter ended July 31, as the high content cost of the 2018 FIFA World Cup reduced its margins, while the weaker ringgit resulted in higher finance charges.


Advertising expenditure (adex) during the period was soft.


Net profit in the May-July quarter slumped 94% to RM16.58mil compared with RM246.3mil made a year ago.


Revenue was steady at RM1.42bil, with the average revenue per user (ARPU) for its pay-TV business steady at RM99.9.


Separately, Astro said it has secured the exclusive broascasting rights to the Premier League for the next three seasons till 2021/22.


Affin Hwang Capital Research said Astro’s 1HFY19 core net profit of RM239.3mil (-48% yoy) was below its and consensus expectations.


“We revise downwards its FY19-21 core EPS forecasts by 8.7-20.5%, given the challenging outlook for Astro.


“We lower our DCF-derived 12-month target price to RM1.77, but maintain our ‘hold’ rating on Astro,” Affin said.


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