Cover PhotoCover Photo

Selling shares of tower company helps Robi to gain slim profit in ‘18

Dhaka, 22 February 2019: Despite registering a loss of 96 crore taka in Q4’2018, Robi ended 2018 with a slim profit of 215 crore taka due to the selling of its share in the tower company. Following the completion of merger in 2016, this is the first year, the merged company, Robi, made profit as a result of this one-off adjustment.

By the end of 2018, Robi’s subscriber base stood at 46.9 million, representing 29.9% of the subscriber market share. Out of the total subscriber base of 46.9 million, 60.4% or 28.3 million subscribers are using data services.

With revenue of 1,764 crore taka in fourth quarter of 2018 (Q4’2018), Robi ended 2018 with a total revenue of 6,798 crore taka. Compared to Q3’2018, the Q4’2018 revenue grew by 0.7%. However, from the perspective of Year-on-Year (Q4’2017 Vs Q4’2018) comparison, Robi’s total revenue declined by 5.1% at the end of Q4’2018.

Robi’s voice revenue declined by 1.1% compared to Q3’2018. However, in light of YoY comparison, Q4’2018 voice revenue was 11% higher than Q4’2017. Spurred by the rapid expansion of the 4.5G network, Robi’s data revenue grew by 14.9%, Year-on-Year (YoY); compared to Q3’2018, the data revenue in Q4’2018 grew by 6.9%.

Robi’s EBITDA stood at 496 crore taka with a margin of 28.1% in Q4’2018, following a growth of 5.7% from Q3’2018. In percentage terms, the EBITDA grew by 1.3 percentage points (pp) in Q4’2018 compared to Q3’2018 and viewed from YoY comparison, it grew by 8 pp.

Robi has paid 675 crore taka to the Government Exchequer in Q4’2018 alone. In total, 3,079 crore taka was paid to the Government Exchequer by Robi in 2018. Since inception of the company in 1997, Robi has paid 23,841 crore taka to the Government Exchequer.

Robi’s focus on improving network quality saw it making Capex investment of 586 crore taka in Q4’2018; the sustained heavy investment in this regard took the total Capex investment figure to 2,088 taka in 2018. This takes Robi’s total Capex investment since inception in 1997 to 23,146 crore taka. During the same period, the company has paid only 290 crore taka to the shareholders.

Commenting on the financial performance of the company, Robi’s Managing Director and CEO Mahtab Uddin Ahmed said: “It is very clear that our aggressive investment in 4.5G service is paying dividends in terms of robust growth of data revenue. However, excessive price competition in data service is not helping to compensate for the declining revenue from our voice service due to increased use of various over-the-top mobile applications. In this backdrop, we urge upon the Government to immediately set a floor price for data service to ensure sustainability of the industry.”

“In terms of our brand positioning, we are very happy with the way our dual-brand strategy is working in the market. Our visionary decision to invest aggressively in expanding 4.5G network is helping us to make significant progress in parts of the market where we had been struggling traditionally. Extensive simplification of our processes supported by digitization is helping us to bring efficiency in cost management. Our growth in enterprise business and the new digital service business segment is particularly encouraging. Having been the only operator to have successfully trialed VoLTE and 5G services, Robi is well on its way to become the next-generation digital champion.”