Axiata records 3Q earnings recovery

KUALA LUMPUR: Axiata Group Bhd posted an earnings recovery in the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2020, as the operating environment improved on the back of easing lockdown measures.

The telco group said in a statement that 3Q revenue grew 5.5% quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q) to RM6.1bil on higher contribution from all operating companies except XL.

"Almost all OpCos registered compelling growth across all metrics - revenue, subscriber, Ebitda and net profit.

"This is an amazing feat under these circumstances and the all-round outstanding performance must be commended," said Axiata president and group CEO Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) rose 9.9% to RM2.8bil while profit after tax and minority interest more than doubled to RM353mil on higher toplines and other operating incomes as well as lower depreciation and amortisation.

Revenue excluding device rose 6% q-o-q on increased contribution from all operating companies except XL, due mainly to Celcom's recovery in prepaid and postpaid revenue and subscriber base.

Ebitda grew 11.4% to outpace revenue ex-device as a result of efficient cost management.

Underlying Patami grew more than 600% on a mix of strong revenue and Ebitda expansion on the back of cost excellence, lower depreciation and amortisation and lower losses from Axiata Digital.

The group recorded savings of RM366mil in the quarter, bringing total cost excellence to RM895mil year-to-date.

As a result, Ebitda margin rose 1.1 percentage point to 44.2% while capex moderation coupled with savings led to operating free cash flow growth of 44.7% to RM2.3bil year-to-date.

Axiata recorded a cash balance of RM10.7bil mainly from the US$1.5bil bond issuances in August 2020, registering net debt-to-Ebitda of 1.88x, well below the targeted level.

Moving forward, group CEO-designate and current deputy group CEO Datuk Izzaddin Idris said the group is optimistic over further monetisation opportunities for Axiata Digital and edotco in the near term.

He added that the shift towards online education and work-from-home as well as SME digitisation is expected to ramp up the enterprise business.

"To keep focused on our long-term goals and seize emerging opportunities, we will leverage significantly on our strategic focus areas and double down on operational excellence initiatives such as the Groupwide ‘Collective Brain’ in IT, network and procurement,” he said.
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Axiata , Celcom , XL , edotco , Jamaludin Ibrahim , Izzaddin Idris


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