Astro’s Q3 earnings rise on lower costs, fees

Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd’s net profit for the third quarter ended Oct 31 rose 4.45% to RM153.22 million from RM146.68 million a year ago due to lower content costs, licence, copyright and loyalty fees and impairment of receivables.

However, it was offset by higher net finance costs due to unfavourable unrealised forex movement arising from unhedged finance lease liabilities and vendor financing, and increase in interest expenses from borrowings, according to its filing with Bursa Malaysia.

Revenue for the quarter fell marginally to RM1.38 billion from RM1.40 billion a year ago due to lower subscription revenue as a result of lower package take-up, offset by higher merchandise sales and advertising revenue.

The increase in merchandise sales was due to increase in number of products sold, driven by the tactical campaigns executed during the quarter while the increase in advertising revenue was due to advertising spend on telcos and new device launches.

Astro has declared a third interim single-tier dividend of 2.5 sen per share in respect of the financial year ending Jan 31, 2019 amounting to about RM130.36 million, to be paid on Jan 4, 2019.

The television division’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) grew 15.3% while revenue fell 2.4% year-on-year. The radio division’s ebitda and revenue fell by 8.2% and 11.1% respectively. For the home-shopping division, ebitda improved by RM2.6 million while revenue rose 35.1%.

For the nine months ended Oct 31, Astro’s net profit fell 41.49% to RM344.52 million from RM588.85 million a year ago, while revenue fell marginally to RM4.11 billion from RM4.14 billion a year ago.

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