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Stock Roundup: Axiata earnings climb as Vimplecom profits

Axiata Group Bhd, parent of Cambodia’s third-largest mobile phone SIM provider Hello, posted impressive results for the first quarter of 2010, with a net profit of 956.7 million ringgit (US$290.1 million) from $15.1 million for the same period last year.

The Malaysian-listed company’s figures showed subscriptions for the Cambodia-based brand Hello rose by 18 percent to 1.27 million, as revenue dropped 8 percent, the result of “pressure from increased numbers of competitors” the company said.

Hello is currently the third-largest SIM provider in Cambodia, with 12.8 percent of the market, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications in May.

Despite the fall in revenue, Hello’s EBITDA increased 28 percent compared with the same period last year – the result of “continued cost control”, according to the company.

Hello contributed only 1 percent to Axiata’s total revenue and made a negligible contribution to EBITDA. However the company did note its 37 percent year-on-year subscription growth to 130 million users in “regional markets” – Cambodia inclusive – as a strong point.

The group’s share price rose 0.5 percent when results were released Thursday, to close at 3.69 ringgit ($1.11) at the end of the week.

Meanwhile, Vimpelcom, which owns Cambodia’s sixth-largest active SIM operator Beeline, also released first-quarter results last week, posting a turnaround net profit of $392 million from a loss of $297 million during the same period a year ago.

Beeline subscriptions grew 34 percent to 491,000.

The quarterly results buoyed the Nasdaq-listed company share price from its Wednesday morning announcement to close at $15.55 on Friday, but losses incurred earlier in the week saw the company still close 7.44 percent lower.

Shareholders continue to shun the Australian telecommunications security supplier Nexbis, which failed to disclose a deal signed with the Cambodian government on May 10 before it was reported by the Australian media on May 19.

Nexbis shares fell an additional 15.38 percent last week on top of its 10.19 percent drop the week the deal was reported.

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