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Forex continues to weigh on Axiata

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Axiata Group dropped into the red in Q3, as a strengthening US dollar led to significant forex losses at many of its operating companies, offsetting revenue gains in its key Malaysia and Indonesia markets and infrastructure unit.

The operator swung from a net profit of MYR349.6 million ($78 million) in Q3 2021 to a loss of MYR52.4 million due to MYR346.7 million in forex losses, higher finance costs and a one-off penalty related to past equipment usage in Cambodia.

Total revenue grew 11 percent year-on-year to MYR7.3 billion.

In a statement, the group highlighted cuts in capex and opex which delivered cost savings of MYR1.2 billion in the first nine months of 2022.

Joint acting CEO Vivek Sood said the group took “proactive measures to drive operational and cost excellence across our businesses…we remain on track towards exceeding our 2022 headline KPIs”.

Operating units
Revenue at Celcom in Malaysia increased 5.4 percent to MYR1.7 billion, driven by an improved prepaid performance and an increase in device sales. Profit after tax rose 15.8 percent to MYR317.4 million, benefiting from lower finance costs.

XL in Indonesia booked a 13.1 percent hike in revenue to MYR2.3 billion, mainly due to higher prepaid data and device sales, with net profit up 22.8 percent to MYR119.6 million.

Bangladesh-based Robi’s revenue was flat at MYR1 billion, with net profit falling 67.2 percent to MYR13.8 million, impacted by higher unrealized forex losses from US dollar loans and higher taxes.

Dialog in Sri Lanka saw a revenue drop of 25.5 percent to MYR575.4 million, due to the depreciation of the local currency against the Malaysian ringgit. Net profit declined 25.2 percent to MYR84.6 million.

Revenue at Nepal unit Ncell fell 3.7 percent to MYR343.1 million, as prepaid voice and value-added services sales dropped. Net profit declined 32.3 percent to MYR38.9 million, mainly as a result of higher depreciation and amortization costs.

Cambodia-based Smart’s revenue increased 22.5 percent to MYR455.9 million on prepaid growth, but it booked a loss of MYR19.4 million due to a penalty of MYR70.4 million and higher taxes.

Its tower unit edotco benefitted from new acquisitions, with revenue increasing 26.6 per cent to MYR625.1 million and its loss growing by more than 100 per cent to MYR58 million, impacted by higher depreciation and amortisation, unrealized forex losses from US dollar loans, and increases in finance costs and taxes.

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