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Axiata battered by forex rates, buoyed by Smart growth

Axiata battered by forex rates, buoyed by Smart growth

Malaysia-based Axiata Group saw profits decline sharply in 2016 despite another strong year for its Cambodian subsidiary, Smart Axiata, according to the company’s year-end report.

Overall revenue for the Axiata Group grew by 8.5 percent year-on-year reaching $4.8 billion in 2016. However, profits decreased by 75 percent over the same period due to a depreciation of the Malaysian ringgit, which led to substantial forex losses, the company said in the report. Overall forex losses reached $154 million last year, bringing total profits down to $113.5 million.

“FY2016 has been a challenging year for the Group, adversely impacted by weaker performance in Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, India as well as losses in digital ventures and forex,” the report read.

“However, the Group’s performance was cushioned by the consolidation of Ncell in Nepal on 11 April 2016 and continued excellent performance from its operations in Sri Lanka and Cambodia.”

Smart Axiata, the Group’s Cambodian mobile network operator, reported strong growth in 2016, according to the report. The firm’s gross revenue grew by 20 percent to $245 million and profit after tax grew by 19.8 percent, reaching $62 million. The strong performance was partly due to Smart riding a surge in data subscriptions, which increased by 25.4 percent to reach 3.8 million subscribers last year, the figures showed.

Smart’s revenue from data increased by 48.6 percent in 2016, with mobile data accounting for 42.3 percent of the company’s total revenue.

“Cambodia continues its growth momentum for the year, registering strong growth of 20 percent or 13 percent at constant currency in gross revenue driven especially by data revenue segment,” the report added.

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