Axiata triples net thanks to forex, subs growth

Nicole McCormick
25 Feb 2010

The chief executive of Malaysia-based Axiata Group has deemed 2009 a “spectacular year” after the company tripled full-year earnings.

The carrier, which has operations in ten southeast Asian countries, reported RM1.65 billion ($484.8) net profit in 2009, up from just RM497.98 million in 2008.

The company swung from a fourth quarter net loss of RM515.25 million in 2008, to a net profit of RM558.3 million in Q409.

Full-year sales improved 15.5% to RM13.11 billion thanks to subs growth from Malaysia’s Celcom, Indonesia’s XL Axiata (formerly Excelcomindo) and Axiata Bangladesh.

While Axiata’s 2009 ebitda was broadly in line with expectations, its net was boosted by RM587 million in forex gains, as opposed to RM445 million in forex loss in 2008, noted Credit Suisse.

Axiata also beat its key performance targets for 2009, and turned free cash flow positive.

"It's a spectacular year,” group CEO and president Datuk Seri Jamaludin Ibrahim told Malaysia’s Business Times.

In Malaysia, Celcom delivered 13% revenue and 11% EBITDA growth year on year.

“We believe this is likely to be the strongest among the local players for 2009,” said Credit Suisse.

“Celcom is currently the market leader in wireless broadband with 511,000 subs (compared with 228,000 in FY08).”

In Indonesia, 83.8%-owned XL Axiata recorded 12% and 14% year on year revenue and ebitda growth respectively, benefiting from a recovery in overall industry conditions and cost controls.

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