Saturday, August 29, 2009

Axiata's Q2

ON AUGUST 27, Axiata Group Bhd, a mobile telecoms group, said second quarter net profit jumped 44 per cent from a year ago, driven by foreign exchange gains and a better showing by its units, especially Celcom.

The net profit of RM526.84 million is also its best quarterly performance since its listing a year ago.

Axiata, which has more than 100 million customers spread over seven countries, also thinks it can almost meet its main financial targets for this year.

It aims to grow revenue by 6-11 per cent and operating profit or Ebitda by 4-6 per cent, among others.Ebitda, or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, rose 2 per cent to RM1.24 billion from a year ago.

Its revenue rose by 7.8 per cent to RM3.16 billion during the period, against RM2.93 billion last year."We have many reasons to smile. All key operating companies improved quarter-on-quarter," said president and group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Jamaludin Ibrahim in a briefing in Kuala Lumpur.

It does not plan to buy Luxembourg-based telecom operator Millicom's assets in Cambodia and Sri Lanka. However, it remains open to acquisitions.

"In general, we are quite open to looking at industry consolidation. Cambodia is definitely one of them, given the number of competitors there. But, until we have a good candidate, we will proceed as it is (to grow organically)," said Jamaludin.

The company is also in active talks on the sale of non-core assets in Thailand, Pakistan and Iran although it is not in a rush to do so.For the six-month period, the group's revenue rose 7 per cent to RM6.03 billion, while net profit fell by 23 per cent to RM591 million.

Celcom, which made up half of Axiata's revenue and over half of Axiata's operating profit, also posted one of its best quarters.

"I think Celcom's segmentation approach, as well as its aggressive push for mobile broadband, are showing effects," said an analyst from a local research house.

Although currency swings are less volatile these days, Axiata said it has plans to minimise this and an announcement is expected in the near term.Meanwhile, the company said it expects the merger between Idea and Spice in India to be completed this quarter.


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