Axiata Group Berhad (Axiata), the parent company of Celcom Axiata Bhd announced its Quarter 3, 2016 (3Q16) financial results last week. As of the third quarter of 2016, Celcom Axiata’s mobile subscriber base now stands at 11.15 million compared to 11.23 million it had in 2Q16. The Telco lost some 80,000 subscribers in 3Q16.
There are 8.28 million Prepaid subscribers in 3Q16 (vs 8.34 million in 2Q16). The Telco lost 53k prepaid subscribers in the quarter (compared to 897k in 2Q16).
As for Postpaid, there are now 2.87 million subscribers (compared to 2.9 million in 2Q16). It lost 28k postpaid subscribers in 3Q16.
ARPU for Postpaid is at RM76 (unchanged since 1Q16) while ARPU for Prepaid is at RM30 (up from RM29 in 2Q16). Some 60.2% of Celcom’s total subscribers are Internet data users with an average consumption of 3.2GB/month in 3Q16.
Axiata revealed that 66% of the subscribers are smartphone users and Celcom’s 4G LTE population coverage remains at 72%, both statistic unchanged since 2Q16.
In a media statement, Axiata said that improvements were seen in service revenue at Celcom, despite operational challenges. Service revenue growth turned positive after three consecutive quarters of decline, recording revenue growth of 1.2% QoQ. Furthermore, its postpaid segment saw a recovery, tracking its second consecutive quarter of QoQ growth from data-led products.
Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, President & Group Chief Executive Officer of Axiata added, “Our quarter-on-quarter topline indicators improved due to Ncell’s first full quarter contribution as well as improvements in service revenue registered across all markets, including Malaysia and Indonesia. At the same time, PATAMI for the quarter improved from lower depreciation and amortisation, net finance cost and forex losses. However, 2016 remains challenging for the Group across most of our markets particularly in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and India where fiercer competition and rising capex have weighed in on overall performance and profitability.
“In the mid- term, we expect to regain our foothold in terms of stronger performance especially at Celcom as the refreshed management team executes on its turnaround plans and at XL with better implementation of its dual-brand strategies. Our Group-wide cost optimization plans will further help to improve profitability. In South Asia, barring regulatory changes, we expect our OpCos to continue its momentum of excellent performance. We also see our investments in the transformation of Axiata into a digital company taking shape and beginning to bear results.”
Total QoQ revenue for the Axiata Group grew by 2.8% to RM5.5 billion, its highest absolute quarterly revenue to date, driven mainly from its newest acquisition, Ncell in Nepal. Axiata said that Ncell successfully performed better than the investment plan in its first full quarter contribution.
Equally, EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation) was up by 1.3% to RM2.1 billion on the back of better performance from Ncell, Dialog, Robi and Smart. Lower Depreciation and Amortisation (D&A) and net finance cost, as well as lower forex losses led to the Group’s profit after tax (PAT) improving by 27.3% to RM296 million for the quarter.
For year-to-date nine months (YTD) compared to the same period last year, revenue rose by 8.6% to RM15.8 billion and EBITDA increased by 13.4% to RM6.0 billion. Profit After Tax (PAT) for the same period, recorded lower at RM929 million as compared to RM2.1 billion. This is as result of one-off tower gains recognised in XL in the previous year; incremental D&A; higher net finance costs from XL’s refinancing of USD debt to IDR and the acquisition of Ncell; higher forex losses from the weaker ringgit as well as lower contribution from Associates and joint ventures.