Malaysia-based Axiata Group reported a decline in revenue in Q3 on mixed results for its operating companies, along with a sharp drop in net profit due to one-off costs and forex swings.

Net profit dropped 45 per cent year-on-year to MYR132 million ($31.5 million): in a statement, the company said the drop was due to the significant strengthening of the Malaysian ringgit against all regional currencies; impairment and transaction costs related to a merger of Idea Cellular with Vodafone India; and adjustments in moving to a new accounting standard. Consolidated group revenue fell 3.2 per cent to MRY6 billion.

Jamaludin Ibrahim, Axiata’s president and group CEO said the company had been “significantly challenged by the ringgit and regional currency depreciation” with loans in US dollars affected and dividend payments to the group impacted by operating company currencies “depreciating faster than the ringgit”.

In the nine months to end-September, the company said a cost optimisation programme achieved MYR1.3 billion in savings: its target for the full year is MYR1.4 billion.

Op-co Q3 performance
Celcom in Malaysia recorded a 10 per cent year-on-year increase in revenue to MYR1.81 billion. Its total subscriber base fell 4.5 per cent to 9.23 million, with prepaid subs down 6.8 per cent and post paid up nearly 1 per cent. Blended ARPU rose 4.3 per cent to MYR48. Average data usage jumped to 13.1GB in the quarter from 7.2GB in Q3 2017.

Its Indonesia unit, XL, continued to face headwinds, with revenue dipping nearly 2 per cent to IDR5.87 trillion ($406 million) in Q3. Blended ARPU fell 8.6 per cent to IDR32,000, with prepaid ARPU down 13.3 per cent. Data revenue accounted for 64 per cent of total turnover, up from 59 per cent in Q3 2017.

XL added 3.71 million subs to end September with 53.9 million. Prepaid subs rose 2 per cent, accounting for 98 per cent of the total, while post paid increased 51 per cent to 954,000.

Dialog in Sri Lanka posted a 12 per cent increase in revenue to SLR27.95 billion ($155 million); revenue at Robi in Bangladesh was flat at BDT17.5 billion ($209 million); and Nepal unit Ncell’s revenue fell 3 per cent to NPR14.1 billion ($124 million).

Axiata’s infrastructure unit, edotco, grew revenue 4.1 per to MYR404 million.