PETALING JAYA: Pay-TV services provider Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd’s net profit tumbled 75.98% in the second quarter ended July 31 (Q2 FY2024) to RM23.65 million from RM98.47 million a year ago on higher operating costs and unfavourable foreign exchange (forex) loss.
Revenue dropped 5.56% to RM869.82 million compared with RM921.12 million in the quarter a year earlier as subscription revenue and merchandise sales fell, it said in a Bursa Malaysia filing today.
Astro’s finance costs surged 61.44% to RM74.1 million in the quarter from RM45.9 million a year ago due to unfavourable unrealised forex loss arising from unhedged lease liabilities.
Earnings per share (EPS) fell to 0.45 sen from 1.89 sen previously.
For the six months ended July 31 (6M FY2024), net profit tumbled 80.08% to RM39.55 million from RM198.48 million in the same period last year. Cumulative revenue was down 6.49% at RM1.76 billion from RM1.88 billion a year ago.
The group said its bottom line was dragged down by higher staff-related, broadband and content costs, marketing and distribution expenses, and license, copyright and royalty fees but offset by lower merchandise costs and impairment of receivables.
No dividend was declared for the quarter and Astro said this was in line with its new dividend policy to distribute dividends annually from its consolidated profit after tax and minority interest (Patami). It had announced a dividend of 0.25 sen per share for Q1 FY2024.
The dividend policy revision is effective immediately, and is aimed at balancing the need to reinvest in the growth of adjacent businesses, while also preserving liquidity to strengthen its balance sheet and pay shareholders dividends.
“Dividends will be paid depending on overall business and earnings performance, capital commitments, financial conditions, distributable reserves and other relevant factors. We will continue to review the dividend policy,” it added.
Moving forward, the group faces the challenge of effectively managing costs as prolonged macroeconomic headwinds are seen to persist, including the strong US dollar environment, shift in global industry, and ongoing cost-of-living pressures.
Nevertheless, Astro is committed to investing in content production with over RM300 million earmarked in FY2024, said group CEO Euan Smith.
“Our focus is also on scaling sooka — our freemium streaming service for sports and vernacular enthusiasts, available on both mobile and the big screen through the smart TV app.
“Our internet service Astro Fibre continues to see encouraging traction, especially as broadband content bundles, available to both residential and enterprise customers,” he added.
Astro’s shares ended half-a-sen or 0.97% lower at 51 sen, giving it a market capitalisation of RM2.64 billion.