Axiata Group president and CEO Izzaddin Idris highlighted its recovery in Q2, which he claimed puts the company in a strong position to add capacity and modernise its networks to support digital inclusion across the region.

Idris added: “We are pleased to have closed the second quarter with robust growth across all metrics despite continued challenges in the business environment due to extended lockdowns.”

He said most of the group’s operating companies delivered at a strong pace during the quarter, pointing to Malaysia-based Celcom’s continuing turnaround driven by an ongoing transformation programme.

Chairman Ghazzali Sheikh Abdul Khalid noted that in addition to assisting communities hit by shutdowns, “we have also ploughed back investments that serve to benefit customers and micro enterprises through improved network capabilities and digital solutions”.

Net profit in Q2 surged 247 per cent to MYR277.8 million ($65.6 million), attributed to lower finance costs and tax. Consolidated revenue increased 10.3 per cent to MYR6.39 billion, supported by gains in all operating companies except XL in Indonesia, which was hit by intense competitive pressure.

Operating units
Celcom saw revenue increase 12.1 per cent to MYR1.63 billion, driven by growth in prepaid subscribers and higher device sales. Net profit grew 12.1 per cent to MYR51.5 million despite accelerated depreciation of 3G assets.

Revenue at XL was mostly flat at MYR1.93 billion, with net profit improving 87.1 per cent to MYR122.8 million due to lower depreciation and amortisation costs, and taxes.

Sri Lanka-based Dialog’s revenue rose 9.8 per cent to MYR986.6 million, driven mostly by prepaid subscriber growth, while Robi in Bangladesh posted a 13 per cent increase in revenue to MYR729.4 million.

Ncell in Nepal booked a 10.7 per cent increase in revenue to MYR350.5 million on strong subscriber growth; Smart in Cambodia saw revenue rise 7.4 per cent to MYR349.9 million.

Revenue at its tower unit edotco increased 2.4 per cent to MYR480.4 million, with net profit growing 56.3 per cent to MYR89.9 million, attributed to lower depreciation and amortisation, and foreign exchange gains.

The group said during the first six months of 2021 it trimmed opex by MYR225 million.