Axiata posts RM9.97b net profit for Q4’22, boosted by merger gain

PETALING JAYA: Axiata Group Bhd recorded an impressive 86-fold surge in net profit for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2022 (Q4’22), to RM9.97 billion from RM116.02 million in the same period last year mainly driven by the one-off net gain on the Celcom-Digi merger amounting to RM13.5 billion.

This brings the net profit for the year (FY22) to RM9.77 billion, soaring twelvefold from RM818.90 million in the corresponding period of FY21.

During the fourth quarter of FY22 under review, it registered higher depreciation and amortisation, taxes (Cukai Makmur and Dialog’s one-off surcharge tax), net finance cost, and goodwill impairment.

Its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation grew 9.2% to RM3.3 billion while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBIT) dropped more than 100% to a loss of RM3.1 billion largely due to the goodwill impairment.

Revenue for Q4’22 improved by 9.3% to RM5.83 billion compared with RM5.34 billion in the same period last year. Revenue for the year improved by 8.7% to RM21.73 billion from RM20.00 billion last year.

Axiata has declared a second dividend of 5 sen for the year ended Dec 31, 2022. This takes the group’s overall dividend declaration to 14 sen for FY22.

Axiata chairman Tan Sri Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said with the completion of its mergers and acquisitions in 2022, it is on track to strengthen its leadership position in the digital telco and infrastructure businesses across their regional footprint.

“From infrastructure, enterprise, to consumer solutions, our ongoing structural changes are intended to place Axiata and its Operating Companies (OpCos) in positions of strength to offer integrated solutions that cater to the transformation needs of enterprises and shifting consumer trends.

“For 2023, the board continues to emphasise operational resilience, and sound business fundamentals as we accelerate our pace towards achieving TechCo status,” he said in a statement.

Axiata joint acting group CEO Vivek Sood added that it remains vigilant of the macroeconomic headwinds in 2023 and is working closely with its OpCos to manage the associated risks.

“Some of the key actions of resilience taken are the continued reduction of our forex exposure, increased hedging activities, reduction of capex, and zero-based costing. Given these measures, we are targeting mid-single digit revenue growth and high single-digit EBIT growth in 2023,” he said.