China Tower recorded double-digit profit gains in the first quarter of 2020 as it added tenants to sites to improve efficiency, while resuming work on 5G-related construction.

Net profit rose 13.1 per cent year-on-year in the January to March quarter to CNY1.45 billion ($205 million), while operating revenue increased 4.2 per cent to CNY19.7 billion.

Tower business revenue inched up 1.5 per cent to CNY18.1 billion, accounting for 91.9 per cent of total turnover, down from 94.5 per cent a year earlier. Revenue from its indoor distributed antenna system business rose 39 per cent to CNY819 million; its cross-industry application and information and energy business jumped 62 per cent to CNY683 million.

In a statement, the company said that with continuous steps in the country to control the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, it restarted all work and services and aims to overcome the impact of the pandemic on 5G construction and business development.

The number of towers under management increased 2 per cent year-on-year to 2.006 million at end-March. The total number of tenants rose 6.5 per cent to 3.276 million, with an average of 1.63 tenants per site, up from 1.56 in Q1 2019.

In 2019, net profit nearly doubled year-on-year to CNY5.22 billion, while operating revenue rose 6.4 per cent to CNY76.4 billion.

The state-owned tower company was formed in 2014 by combining the tower assets of the country’s three telecom players – China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, which together hold a 69 per cent stake in the company. It is the largest tower company in the world and was listed on Hong Kong Stock Exchange in August 2018.