Malaysia's Axiata Group has swung to a 147.71 million ringgit ($37.2 million) net loss for the first quarter of 2018 as a result of losses at its part-owned Indian affiliate Idea Cellular.
The loss, which compares to a 239.03 million ringgit profit during the same period a year ago, was attributed to business losses from Idea of around 124.3 million ringgit as a result of the ongoing turmoil gripping the Indian telecoms market.
Axiata's stake in the operator was also reduced from 19.7% to 16.3% because it did not participate in new issuance of Idea shares.
Excluding the impact of Idea's losses, Axiata's group profit would have grown by 34.6% to 386.9 million ringgit, the operator said.
Revenue for the quarter grew 5.2% year-on-year to 6.2 billion ringgit as the group increased revenue market share across most of its operating markets.
In Malaysia, Celcom Axiata reported a 2% year-on-year increase in service revenue and lifted its LTE and LTE-A population coverage to 88% and 76% respectively. Indonesia's XL Axiata achieved revenue growth of 4% over the same period but a 47% decrease in profit, while Cambodia's Smart Axiata reported a stable performance for the quarter.
Bangladesh's Robi Axiata grew service revenue by 12.4% year on year, Sri Lanka's Dialog improved its revenue by 17.2% and Nepal's Ncell reported a 4.3% increase in revenue.
Associate M1 meanwhile reported flat profit but a 0.5% revenue growth for the quarter, but contributed a slightly lower profit to Axiata Group.
“Despite it being a tough start to the year with intense competition particularly in India and Indonesia, I am pleased to see that Axiata’s underlying business performance remained on track and in line with target,” Axiata Group chairman Tan Sri Datuk Wira Azman Hj Mokhtar said [PDF].
“We will continue to focus on long term objectives and strengthen our fundamentals to ensure a stronger performance for 2018.”