Astro Posts Resilient Results in FY20, Underpinned by Cost Optimisation

Astro Posts Resilient Results in FY20, Underpinned by Cost Optimisation

Astro Malaysia Holdings Berhad | Result highlights for the financial year ended 31 January 2020 (FY20)

  • Revenue -10% y-o-y at RM4.9bn
  • EBITDA +7% y-o-y to RM1.7bn
  • Normalised PATAMI* +17% y-o-y to RM657mn; underpinned by cost optimisation
    • 4QFY20 Normalised PATAMI -19% y-o-y to RM128mn
  • Declared fourth interim dividend of 1.5 sen per share.
  • Pay-TV ARPU steady at RM100

Tun Zaki Azmi, Chairman of Astro, said: “Despite headwinds in the global economic environment and a challenging media landscape in FY20, Astro continues to be cash generative, cost disciplined and proactive in its capital management. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board has decided to take a prudent approach by moderating a fourth interim dividend to 1.5 sen per share.

Total dividend declared in FY20 amounts to 7.5 sen, equating to a 60% dividend payout ratio. This represents a departure from Astro’s dividend policy of paying out at least 75% of consolidated profits. Given the current heightened uncertainty, the Board believes this to be the best course of action to conserve liquidity and strengthen the Group’s balance sheet.”

Henry Tan, Group Chief Executive Officer of Astro said: “Our financial results remain resilient amid a challenging operating environment and the threat of piracy. We achieved PATAMI growth by optimizing cost and strengthening our position as the entertainment destination and gateway to Malaysian homes through our Pay-TV, NJOI, Commerce and Broadband propositions. The Ultra Box, Astro’s latest 4K UHD decoder with cloud recording is well-received with over 45,000 orders since launch.”

“Our stable financials enable us to pivot our business to capture new digital opportunities in OTT video streaming, radio and commerce. With 3 exclusive streaming services - Astro GO, HBO GO and iQIYI, we have the largest customer base for video streaming services in Malaysia, with over 2.6mn registered users.”

Key Operational Highlights:
  • Winning Over Malaysian Homes: With a variety of vernacular, international and live sports content, coupled with initiatives to elevate customer experience, Astro is strengthening its position as Malaysia’s entertainment destination of choice, with a total customer base of 5.7mn, or 75% of Malaysian TV households. Astro is leveraging on NJOI to further increase its presence in households. NJOI introduced e-wallet top-ups to complement the existing 30,000 touchpoints including convenience stores, online banking and self-service channels.
  • Strong Engagement: Our customers are watching over 4 hours of Astro daily across TV, On Demand and Astro GO, reaffirming our relevance even in this digital era. Astro’s HD offering has grown to 101 channels, contributing to a strong TV viewership share of 76%. With an On Demand library of over 51,000 shows, On Demand titles watched grew 37% y-o-y to 74mn while weekly time spent increased by 8% to 480 minutes. Meanwhile, Astro GO’s registered users rose 20% to 2.6mn and weekly viewing time increased by 16% to 173 minutes.
  • Radex showing q-o-q growth: Astro’s radio brands maintained their No.1 position in their respective languages, reaching 16.9 million weekly listeners, with an average of 2 hours daily while 3 million users stream radio online monthly. The SYOK app, which aggregates our radio brands, podcasts and original videos, has over 273k monthly active users. Astro Radio’s Radex saw growth in the past 4 quarters while Radex share rose 4 percentage points to 80%. Astro’s share of Digital Adex stood at 4%, supported by 11.6mn digital monthly unique visitors on over 25 digital brands. Meanwhile, Astro’s TV Adex share stood at 43%, underpinned by higher viewing across all platforms.
  • Growing reach: Go Shop grew its reach nationwide registering a 25% growth in customers to 2.2mn with over 1.0mn app downloads.

Key Initiatives:
  • Astro Shaw Leads the Local Box Office: BoBoiBoy The Movie 2, a collaboration between Astro Shaw and Animonsta, is the top grossing animated movie in Malaysia last year with RM30mn ticket sales. Together with other releases - Pusaka, Sangkar, Wira and Misteri Dilaila, Astro Shaw garnered 50% of the local Malaysian box office in 2019. Award-winning The Garden of Evening Mists has been released in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Taiwan and Hong Kong and continues to receive critical acclaim globally.
  • Vernacular Content Drives Highest Viewership: Astro’s vernacular content was key to strong TV viewership share of 76%. Its originals such as Gegar Vaganza 6, Maharaja Lawak Mega 2019, Curi-Curi Cinta and Classic Golden Melody 2019 were the most viewed programmes in 2019. Its reality talent show, Gegar Vaganza 6, was the highest rated programme with 3.8mn TV viewership.
  • Content Bundled Packages with Fibre Broadband Speeds of up to 800 Mbps: Astro now offers new content packages bundled with fibre broadband speeds of 300Mbps, 500Mbps and 800Mbps, in partnership with Maxis Home Fibre.

Outlook

Globally, businesses are facing unprecedented social and economic challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Henry said, “As a broadcaster, Astro is categorised by the government as an essential service provider. While we continue to broadcast as usual during the Movement Control Order, we have also activated our business continuity plans and ensured the safety of our employees. Our teams are currently split across different sites with significant majority working from home. We at Astro are doing our part to keep Malaysians informed and entertained through these trying times.

Astro remains focused on strengthening its customer value proposition and loyalty, while pursuing deeper cost optimisation and stronger anti-piracy push. At the same time Astro will leverage on its customer base to build new revenue adjacencies in commerce, broadband, digital and OTT.

*Normalised PATAMI excludes post-tax impact of unrealised forex gain/(loss) due to mark-to-market revaluation of transponder-related finance lease liabilities and one-off employee separation scheme cost in 4Q FY19.


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