Axiata Group Berhad announced its first quarter (1Q19) financial results on Tuesday. Malaysia-based Celcom Axiata, a subsidiary of the Axiata Group, now has 8.95 million mobile subscribers, down from 9.08 million it had as of December 2018.
The Telco lost some 128k mobile subscribers between January, February and March this year.
There are now 5.97 million prepaid mobile subscribers, down by 118k from 6.09 million in 4Q18. Prepaid ARPU was lower at RM34 (-RM2) from RM36 it had in 4Q18.
Celcom Postpaid Subscriber base stood at 2.98 million, down (-10k) from 2.99 million in 4Q18. Postpaid ARPU was lower by RM3 at RM84 (vs RM87 in 4Q18).
About 77% of Celcom Mobile Subscribers are Internet users consuming an average 14.8GB a month in 1Q19 (vs 15.4GB in 4Q18).
Close to 80% of Celcom Mobile Subscribers are smartphone users (vs 78% in 4Q18).
Celcom 4G LTE Human Population Coverage has improved to 93% from 91% in 4Q18. 4G LTE-Advanced coverage also improved to 81% (vs 78% in 4Q18).
In a media statement, Axiata Group said in 1Q19, the industry’s total mobile service revenue in Malaysia declined -3.6% YoY (Year-on-Year) impacted by lower regulated mobile termination rate (MTR) and wholesale revenue. This negative growth led to a muted industry landscape for the quarter, which saw Celcom’s revenue dip by 7.4% to RM1.7 billion YoY, mainly as a result of reduced wholesale revenue. However, against this backdrop, Celcom’s core mobile service revenue increased 2.3% YoY driven by strong postpaid growth of 7.1%. Celcom’s EBITDA was up 25% YoY post adoption of MFRS 16, contributed by lower operating expenditure.
Celcom Financial Highlights Q1 2019, according to Axiata Group:
- Malaysia mobile service revenue declined 3.6% YoY and 4.7% QoQ in 1Q19, where wholesale revenue impact is between 1-2% pts.
- Celcom core mobile service revenue grew 2.3% YoY driven by strong postpaid growth of 7.1% YoY
- Operating expenditure fell 8.5% YoY, from direct expenses (-22%) due to lower device sales and outpayment.
- PAT declined 18.8% YoY due to one-off network cost from LTE expansion of RM35m in 1Q19.
Commenting on 1Q19 results, Tan Sri Ghazzali Sheikh Abdul Khalid, Chairman, Axiata Group Berhad said, “The 1Q19 results demonstrate that the Group is on track with its plans to make 2019 a year of significant growth as its transformation towards becoming a New Generation Digital Champion by 2022 gains momentum.”
Axiata Group’s revenue grew by 4.3% year on year (YoY) to RM5.9 billion mainly driven by growth from XL, Robi, edotco, Dialog, Smart and digital businesses. Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) rose 7.7% YoY to RM2.2 billion for 1Q19 on the back of double-digit growth from XL, Dialog, Robi, Smart and edotco.
Normalised Profit After Tax and Minority Interests (PATAMI) for 1Q19 dipped 24.0% YoY to RM226 million impacted by Celcom and Ncell, depreciation and amortisation (D&A), finance costs and discontinued M1 share of profit.
On the announcement of Axiata’s proposed merger with Telenor ASA’s Asian operations, Axiata President and Group Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim said “There will be a dedicated working team looking into the details of this project over the next three months, separate from the rest of the management team. As far as the Group is concerned, it is business as usual and achieving the 2019 targets would remain as key priorities for all operating units.”