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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » Dialog dials growth in 1Q before Rs. 6.1 b Budget hit

Dialog dials growth in 1Q before Rs. 6.1 b Budget hit

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Melissa Pereira


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Group contributes 
Rs. 5.8 b to Treasury in 1Q
The Dialog Axiata Group said yesterday it continued its growth momentum across the Mobile, Digital Pay Television and Fixed Line businesses to record consolidated revenue of Rs. 17.3 billion for the First Quarter, demonstrating a growth of 6% on a Year-on-Year (YoY) basis. Group revenue was stable on a Quarter-on-Quarter (‘QoQ’) basis.
Group EBITDA (Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation) for Q1 2015 was recorded at Rs. 6 billion, an increase of 9% QoQ and 27% YoY. The strong QoQ increase in EBITDA was driven by operational efficiencies centred on cost management initiatives. The Group EBITDA margin for Q1 2015 was registered at 34.5%.
Dialog...
Underpinned by the positive EBITDA growth trajectory, Group NPAT (Net Profit after Tax) for Q1 2015 grew by 34% QoQ and 56% YoY to be recorded at Rs. 2 billion. The Group recorded a non-cash, translational foreign exchange loss of Rs. 279 million for the quarter following the depreciation of the SLR relative to the USD by 1.1% QoQ. 
Group NPAT post-normalisation for the said non-cash foreign exchange loss was recorded at Rs. 2.3 billion for Q1 2015, representing an increase of 28% QoQ and 85% YoY.
The Dialog Group remitted a total of Rs. 5.9 billion to the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) during Q1 2015. Total remittances included direct taxes and levies as well as consumption taxes collected on behalf of GoSL. 
Direct taxes, fees and levies contributed by the Dialog Group totaled to Rs. 2.4 billion, inclusive of income tax. The Group additionally collected consumption taxes, totalling Rs. 3.5 billion on behalf of the GoSL in Q1 2015, comprising in the main of Telecom Levy collections amounting to Rs. 2.8 billion.
The Minister of Finance presented the interim budget 2015 to the Parliament on 29 January 2015. The interim budget as presented alluded to new taxes and levies potentially applicable to the operations of the Dialog Group. 
Pursuant to the interim budget proposals, a draft Finance Bill and Telecommunication Levy (Amendment) Bill were published by way of a gazette notification on 30 March 2015. The Draft Telecommunication Levy (Amendment) Bill if legislated will impose a levy from every operator providing telecommunication services as a prepaid service.
With respect to the one-off taxes proposed for legislation through the (draft) Finance Bill, the impact of the said taxes is estimated at Rs. 3 billion. The distributable profit for the financial year ended 31 December 2014 prior to the application of this impact was recorded at Rs. 6.1 billion. In line with the going forward imperative of investing in the future growth of the company, and the dilution of profit available for distribution as a result of the impact of the said taxes, the Board of Directors of the company has intimated to the Colombo Stock Exchange its decision to recommend for the approval of shareholders, a total dividend of Rs. 1.1 billion for the financial year ended 31 December 2014 which translates to a dividend to shareholders of thirteen cents (Rs. 0.13) per share.
The consolidated financial results for the three months ended 31 March 2015 excludes any and all impact from the afore-referenced bills since they remain in draft form, and corresponding legislation has not been enacted as at the reporting date.
Consolidating its leadership position as a regional and global leader in innovation, Dialog secured the distinction of winning two global awards at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) held in Barcelona Spain in March 2015. 
Sri Lanka’s premier mobile payment network eZ Cash beat out worldwide competition to win the Global Award for the Best Mobile Money Service, whilst Dialog’s cutting-edge open development platform Ideamart won the Global Award for the Best Technology Enabler. Ideamart is widely regarded as one of the most successful integrated mobile application development platforms in the world. 

Telecom Service Provider of the Year
Further endorsing Dialog’s leadership in Sri Lanka’s fiercely competitive ICT sector, Sri Lankan consumers voted Dialog as the Telecom Service Provider of the Year for the fourth year in succession at the recently held SLIM-Nielsen People’s Awards organised by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) and the Nielsen Company. Consumers also voted Dialog as the Internet Service Provider of the Year for the third year in succession.
At an entity level, Dialog Axiata Plc (‘the Company”) featuring the mobile, international and tele-infrastructure segments of the Group portfolio continued to contribute a major share of Group revenue (83%) and Group EBITDA (85%). On the back of its mobile subscriber base of over 9.8 million citizens, company revenue for Q1 2015 grew by 4% YoY to be recorded at Rs14.7Bn. Company revenue remained stable on a QoQ basis.
Underpinned by the operating cost efficiencies, company EBITDA recorded a growth of 8% QoQ to reach Rs. 5.1 billion for Q1 2015, translating to an EBITDA margin of 34.4%. Company EBITDA increased by 21% compared to the corresponding period in 2014. On the backdrop of strong performance in EBITDA, Company NPAT for Q1 2015 was recorded at Rs. 1.9Bn, an increase of 26% QoQ and 32% YoY.
Dialog Television (DTV), the Digital Pay Television business of the Group, continued its positive growth momentum, recording a revenue growth of 36% YoY to reach Rs. 1.5 billion for Q1 2015. DTV EBITDA was recorded at Rs. 314 million for the same period, an improvement of 21% YoY driven by strong revenue growth. 
Downstream of healthy EBITDA performance, Net Profit for Q1 2015 was recorded at Rs. 139 million, representing an increase of 5% YoY. DTV’s Pay TV subscriber base surpassed the 500,000 milestone to reach 504,000 as at the end of March 2015.
Dialog Broadband Networks (DBN) featuring the Group’s Fixed Telecommunications and Broadband Business recorded a revenue of Rs. 1.7 billion for Q1 2015, representing an increase of 18% YoY. On the backdrop of strong revenue growth and operating cost improvements, YoY EBITDA increased significantly by 142% to be recorded at Rs. 600 million for Q1 2015. Accordingly, Net Loss for the quarter reduced to Rs. 80 million compared to a Net Loss of Rs. 311 million recorded in the corresponding period in 2014.
Group capital expenditure for Q1 2015 amounted to Rs. 2.2 billion. Capital expenditure was directed in the main towards investments in the expansion and modernisation of 2G, 3G and 4G networks and on-going large scale initiatives related to the Group’s Optical Fibre Network (OFN) and Bay of Bengal Gateway (BBG) Sub-Marine Cable project.
Group Free Cash Flow (FCF) was recorded at Rs. 3.4 billion for Q1 2015 on the back of improved EBITDA and lower capital expenditure. The Group continued to exhibit a structurally robust balance sheet with the Net Debt to EBITDA ratio being recorded at 0.7x as at end of March 2015.

Courtesy: Daily Financial Times 14 May 2015

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