Malaysia-based Axiata Group’s profit fell last year as growth in its key Malaysia market slowed and the weak rupiah erased strong revenue gains in Indonesia.
Its profit after tax and minority interests (PATAMI) in 2014 fell 7.9 per cent to MYR2.3 billion ($631 million), due to higher costs related to Celcom’s IT transformation, XL’s Axis integration costs and the weakening of the Indonesian rupiah. The group’s EBITDA fell 3.7 per cent to MYR7 billion. Its EBITDA margin dropped 1.2 points to 37.4 per cent.
The company’s revenue increased just 1.9 per cent to MYR18.7 billion. But in constant currency, the company said it rose 4.4 per cent. Data revenue, which rose 31 per cent, showed strong growth in all markets as smartphone penetration expanded.
Celcom’s revenue fell 4 per cent to MYR7.71 billion. The Malaysia operator accounted for 42 per cent of Axiata’s total revenue. The company said Celcom’s IT transformation affected customer service and its ability to introduce new offerings but will give it a long-term competitive advantage once it’s completed.
Celcom’s data revenue grew 24 per cent, with mobile internet revenue up 50 per cent. Data accounted for 22 per cent of total revenue, up from 17 per cent in 2013. The growth was driven by smartphone penetration climbing 15 percentage points to 47 per cent..
XL, Dialog, Robi and Smart all reported strong revenue growth last year.
XL’s revenue was up 10.4 per cent on a local currency basis. But the Indonesian rupiah declined by 9 per cent against the Malaysian ringgit in 2014. XL’s revenue of MYR6.47 billion represented 35 per cent of Axiata’s turnover.
Its data revenue increased 42 per cent, accounting for 29 per cent of total revenue. Voice and SMS revenue managed to increase 3 per cent last year.
XL completed the sale of 3,500 towers to Solusi Tunas in 4Q, with the proceeds of the IDR5.6 trillion ($460 million) sale to be used to pay down debt and improve its capital position.
Sri Lanka’s Dialog posted a 6 per cent increase in revenue to MYR1.68 billion. Data revenue expanded 56 per cent and now accounts for 9 per cent of total revenue.
Bangladeshi Robi’s revenue rose 9.4 per cent to MYR2.08 billion, with data rising 120 per cent and now accounting for 76 per cent of turnover (up from 3 per cent in 2013).
Cambodia’s Smart saw its revenue jump 36 per cent to MYR588 million, which represents 3 per cent of Axiata’s revenue. The growth was driven by a 135 per cent rise in voice revenue and a 19 per cent increase in data sales. Total data subscribers increased to 1.8 million and now account for 27 per cent of its of user base. Prepaid revenue grew 43 per cent, contributing 76 per cent to total revenue.
Its associate companies in Singapore and India – M1 and Idea – reported 7 per cent and 19 per cent increases in revenue respectively.
Axiata has forecast 4 per cent growth in both revenue and EBITDA this year and its planned capex is MYR4.8 billion.