KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — Axiata Group Bhd posted a net loss of RM1.99 billion in the financial year ended Dec 31, 2023 (FY2023) against a net profit of RM9.75 billion in the corresponding period a year ago.

The multinational telecommunications group said the performance was impacted by Ncell and Edotco Myanmar asset impairment, higher net finance cost and lower share of results of CelcomDigi Bhd relative to Celcom’s contribution as a subsidiary in the previous year.

However, it said revenue for the period rose to RM22.0 billion versus RM20.02 billion in the previous year, representing a 9.9 per cent increase, driven by solid underlying performance across many of its markets in Asean and South Asia, demonstrating a year of resilient performance despite challenging global macroeconomic conditions.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia today, the group said net loss for the fourth quarter of 2023 (4Q FY2023) stood at RM695.02 million compared to a net profit of RM9.95 billion in the same quarter a year ago, while revenue grew to RM5.79 billion from RM5.40 billion previously.

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“Against headline key performance indicators (KPIs) at a constant rate, the group exceeded its target of mid-single digit revenue ex-device growth and high single-digit earnings before interest and taxes (Ebit) growth at 7.8 per cent and 18.4 per cent, respectively,” it said.

Meanwhile, in a virtual press conference on the FY2023 results briefing, Axiata group chief executive officer and managing director Vivek Sood said the revenue growth placed the group in a stronger position to accelerate the progress and deliver on strategic priorities.

“It is encouraging to note that most of our digital telcos (telecommunications companies) delivered one of their most profitable performances, while also gaining market share,” he said.

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He noted that the group recently refreshed its corporate strategy, and these will be delivered by five vectors of value creation, namely synergy delivery of CelcomDigi, structural transformation in Indonesia, building business resilience in frontier markets, creating sustainable value through infrastructure, and illuminating the value of digital businesses.

Moving into 2024, Vivek said the group was excited for the next phase of the telco-techco (technology company) journey as it evolves to become an integral player in the region’s digital and technology ecosystem.

As for 2024 headline KPIs, he said revenue growth of mid-single digit and Ebit growth of mid-teens were based on continuing operations, with a capital expenditure of RM6.1 billion for 2024.

“We remain confident that through our refreshed corporate strategy of delivering value through five vectors and five strategic priorities, we will continue to reshape our portfolio to unlock value and build on new opportunities to create value from sustainable businesses.

“The key focus is in transforming our business in Indonesia, in addition to looking into a more sustainable full-fledged business of launching Boost Bank in the second quarter of this year,” he added.

The group declared a second dividend of five sen per share for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2023, which brings the group’s total dividend per share for FY2023 to 10 sen. — Bernama