Robi Axiata Ltd. (Robi) announced its financial results for the first quarter of the year ending on 31 March 2015.
A year started with a very challenging macro conditions resulting from political unrest impacting growth in all dimensions of the business. However despite these challenging conditions, Robi was able to acquire another 1 million new subscribers to reach 26.3 million subscribers, representing 21.3 per cent subscriber market share.
During the period, the company recorded revenue growth of 4.1 per cent compared to the same period of last year, with commendable data revenue growth of over 170 per cent. Data revenue growth was propelled by the significant investments in network coupled with innovative data offerings to drive 3.5G and 2.5G data usage.
Robi achieved operating profit (EBITDA) margin of 37.4 per cent, which is marginally lower than the same period of previous year caused by higher network expenses related to continued network investments, political unrest and intense competition. PAT (profit after Tax) was dented marginally by higher depreciation resulting from investments in 2.5G/3.5G network expansion and lower EBITDA.
QoQ PERFORMANCE (Q1 2015 vs Q4 2014)
Robi added 1.0 million subscribers recording 4.0 per cent growth reaching to a total of 26.3 million. This increase is an endorsement of customer confidence in Robi as a brand and its services as well as network experience.
QoQ revenue retracted 8.7 per cent to BDT 12.2 billion attributed to lower business activities due to challenging macro environment resulting from political turmoil and intense competition. Data revenues recorded an impressive growth of 18.4 per cent. QoQ EBITDA improved 0.7 per cent to BDT 4.6 billion in Q1 2015 reflecting prudent spending in non-network areas. PAT for the quarter grew 1.6 per cent reaching BDT 0.9 billion in Q1 2015 from marginally higher EBITDA contribution.
YoY PERFORMANCE (Q1 2015 vs Q1 2014)
On YoY basis, the company recorded strong 9.8 per cent growth, adding 2.4 million new subscribers to reach 26.3 million at end of the quarter. Customer centric product and service offerings and superior network experience enabled Robi to achieve admirable growth in its subscriber base.
Revenue recorded growth of 4.1 per cent reaching BDT 12.2 billion in the first quarter of 2015. Data business performance has witnessed an unprecedented growth of over 170 per cent during the same period underpinned by deployment of best in class 3.5G services across the country. Total data customer base exceeded 12 million at the end of the quarter.
While EBITDA margin registered 37.4 per cent in Q1 2015, EBITDA dropped marginally to BDT 4.6 billion from BDT 4.7 billion in Q1 2014.
Retraction of EBITDA was impacted primarily by operating cost of expanding network coverage and marketing costs.
In 2015, Robi recorded PAT of BDT 0.9 billion, which is 11 per cent lower than Q1 2014, negatively impacted by additional depreciation and amortization from new CAPEX investments and 3G spectrum amortization.
INVESTMENT IN MOBILE NETWORK INFRASTRUCTURE
Robi continued to invest heavily to fast-track its 3.5G network expansion and to improve 2.5G customer experience both in voice and data services. The company has deployed over 2,400 3.5G sites providing best in class data experience in Bangladesh. The total CAPEX investment made since inception amounted to BDT 148.6 billion including BDT 6.4 billion CAPEX investment in first quarter of 2015. The company has deployed network coverage in all 64 districts in Bangladesh through 7,511 sites of which over 2,400 are 3.5G sites.
Robi Managing Director and CEO, Supun Weerasinghe said, “We experienced strong growth in data services during the first three months of 2015. However, unrest in macro environment due to political turmoil impacted the growth across all dimensions of the business. Despite these challenges, we continue to invest towards expansion of 2.5G/3.5G network across the country to provide a superior experience to our subscribers.”
Robi Chief Operating Officer, Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, said, “Robi continued to offer most affordable data pricing across the country, which has made adoption of data services easier and cost effective. Robi has also offered ‘Best Roaming’ in 100 countries with special and affordable rates. We launched a customer loyalty programme ‘Dhonnobad’ to reward our loyal customers for their loyalty to and usage of our network. Robi also introduced several business solutions aimed at enhancing the value addition to Enterprise and SME customers.”
PAYMENT TO STAKEHOLDERS
In Q1 2015, the company contributed more than BDT 4.6 billion to the government exchequer representing 38 per cent of company revenue. Since inception in 1997, Robi has paid more than BDT 145 billion to the government exchequer while for the same period remitted BDT 2.6 billion dividends to its shareholders.
Robi Axiata Limited is a joint venture between Axiata Group Berhad, of Malaysia and NTT DoCoMo Inc., of Japan. Robi is the second largest mobile phone operator in Bangladesh in terms of revenue, with over 26 million subscribers, as of March 2015. Robi network provides nationwide coverage to nearly 99 per cent of the population with more than 11,700 BTS and over 2,400 3.5G sites. Robi proudly claims to have the widest international roaming service in the market, connecting 600 operators across more than 200 countries. It is also the first operator to introduce GPRS and 3.5G services in Bangladesh. The Company has introduced many first of its kind digital services in the country and has invested heavily in taking mobile financial services to the underserved communities in the rural and semi-urban areas.