XL Axiata swings to $41m loss on Axis buy

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net

Indonesia's XL Axiata has reported a swing to a net loss of 482.52 billion rupiah ($41.31 million), largely as a result of costs accrued from its acquisition of Axis Telecom.

The loss compares to a 670.43 billion rupiah profit in the same period a year earlier. Unfavorable foreign currency fluctuations and increased expenses also contributed to the decline.

Revenue by contrast grew 12% year-on-year to 11.6 trillion rupiah, chiefly on the back of data gains. Data revenue was up 45% year-on-year, while voice and SMS revenue each grew 5%. Data traffic surged 158% year-on-year.

XL's total subscriber base grew 16% to 62.9 million users, with data subscribers increasing to 32.2 million – or 51% of the total customer base. Smartphone penetration among its customers also increased to 21% of its total base.

To meet Indonesia's burgeoning data demand, XL president director Hansul Suhaimi said the company is increasing its number of 3G base stations, and evaluating the possibility of expanding its network to use UMTS900 spectrum.

XL had 47,814 total base stations in operation as of the end of the first half.

XL Axiata – through parent company Axiata Group - recently acquired rival mobile operator Axis Telecom. The purchase price was just $100 in cash, but also involved accruing Axis' $865 million debt pile.

Specifically, the company blamed the 1H loss on higher interest associated with loans related to the Axis purchase.

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