Malaysia-based Axiata Group has reported a 7.9% decline in net profit for 2014, as its Celcom Axiata subsidiary's performance was weighed down by a sluggish domestic market.
The group reported a net profit of 2.3 billion ringgit ($638.6 million). Revenue grew 1.9% year-on-year to 18.7 billion ringgit, but would have improved 4.4% in constant currencies.
Data revenue increased across each of Axiata's markets, with total data revenue up 31.5% year-on-year.
Profit from Axiata's Malaysian mobile subsidiary Celcom fell 12.4% and revenue declined 3.5% following eight years of strong growth. Axiata blamed costs associated with the company's major IT transformation project as well as a slowdown in the overall market.
Data revenue nevertheless increased a strong 24%, fuelled by a 50% increase in mobile internet revenue.
In Indonesia, XL Axiata increased its revenue by 10.4% to 23.6 trillion rupiah ($1.8 billion). The company said its recent acquisition of Axis is on track to achieve ebitda breakeven in under 12 months, faster than previously expected.
Axiata also recorded a strong performance at its Sri Lankan, Banglaseshi and Cambodian subsidiaries, and solid contributions from its affiliates in India (Idea Cellular) and Singapore (M1).
Axiata chairman Tan Sri Dato' Azman Hj. Mokhtar commented that "2014 was a challenging year, especially at Celcom. Added to this the Group, as with most regional companies, was impacted by adverse forex movements.”
Looking ahead to 2015, Axiata is targeting a 4% increase in both revenue and ebitda, based on 2014 exchange rates. But the company warned that slower industry growth in Malaysia and heightened political and regulatory risks in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka could adversely impact its performance.