Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT) Group released its financial results for the first nine months of 2020 recording a remarkable 35.4% YoY growth in its Net Profit to Rs. 6.7 billion. The Group revenue reported at Rs. 67.2 billion, a 5.2% YoY growth, assuring a resilient performance amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Broadband revenue of the Group surged significantly over the same period last year underpinned by the increase of FTTH (Fiber-to-the-Home) footprints across the Country by the ongoing accelerated Fiber Expansion Program by SLT and the increase of mobile broadband services by Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd. PEOTV revenues too soared during the period under review. However, the Group experienced a de-growth in Voice revenues in both SLT and Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd.
The Group’s stringent cost management measures maintained the Group’s Operating Costs before Depreciation and Amortization at the same level compared to the last year, pushing the EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization) margin up to 39.3% from 34.9%. The EBITDA lifted to Rs. 26.4 billion, up by 18.4% YoY. The Depreciation and Amortization of the Group increased by 9.8% YoY to Rs. 16.7 billion. The Group recorded an impressive growth in Operating Profits of 37.0% YoY to Rs. 9.7 billion due mainly to the elevated EBITDA of the period.
The Interest Expenses and Finance Costs rose to Rs. 2.1 billion from Rs. 1.4 billion YoY as a result of increased borrowings to finance the growing capital expenditure in order to align with the global technological trends and fulfilling the changing customer demands. FOREX losses of the Group mounted to Rs. 0.8 billion from Rs. 58 million in the same period last year stemming from the depreciation of Sri Lankan Rupee against USD mainly due to the adverse impacts during the early stages of Covid-19 pandemic.
Group Profit Before Tax (PBT) recorded at Rs. 8.3 billion, a 18.9% growth compared to the year before while Profit After Tax (PAT) posted at Rs. 6.7 billion, demonstrating a YoY increase of 35.4%. The PAT margin went up to 10.0% from 7.8% for the same period the year earlier.
During the first nine months of 2020, SLT Group paid out a total of Rs. 11.8 billion as Direct and Indirect Taxes and Levies to the Government of Sri Lanka.
Rohan Fernando, the Group Chairman, commented, “Our first nine months performance is a strong evidence of SLT Group’s ability to navigate during the uncertain times. This performance is a testament to the vital role that our products play in our customers’ lives. Our goal is to make the SLT Group as the number one in the telecommunication and digital market. In order to realize that goal we explore new local and international markets, join hands with new funding partners and utilize/ monetize the underutilized assets within the Group. We need to build and improve positive attitudes in the mindsets of our customers, employees and all other stakeholders to accomplish better than yesterday. The progress we have achieved in the first nine months will help us to gradually reduce the accumulated borrowing incurred on developing the National Fiberization program. This initiative which began in 2017 has placed the company on a strong platform to move in to the Digital world”.
Lalith Seneviratne, the Group Chief Executive Officer, remarked “As a Group with widespread operations across the Country in both fixed and mobile operating services, resourced with expertized human capital and physical capital, we strive to leverage the synergies within the Group and thereby to improve efficiency and lower the operational expenses. We have already made several initiatives on the same and we continue to reap the benefits of Group collaborations over the years to come”.
Kiththi Perera, Chief Executive Officer of SLT stated, “SLT proudly launched “SLTGO” community WiFi network recently, in partnership with FON Wireless Limited, the world’s largest community WiFi network operator. This solution provides an opportunity for SLT customers to access the internet anywhere from SLTGO WiFi hotspots in Sri Lanka and from 23 million WiFi hotspots all over the world. In addition, as a responsible corporate citizen, SLT involved in many CSR activities including “e-waste” collection week in partnership with the Central Environmental Authority and the Department of Posts, and joined hands with Mobitel to transform discarded buses into libraries. We always believe delivering value to our customers, communities and all other stakeholders is the most promising way to build long term value”.
Priyantha Fernandez, Chief Operating Officer of SLT added, “We have successfully commenced the Phase 3 of accelerated Fiber Expansion Program to provide FTTH (Fiber-to-the-Home) connections across the Country to provide an ultra-speed experience to our valued customers. We extended PEO TV GO services to our 4G LTE customers too to enjoy their favourite TV programs. I’m pleased to announce that our cloud based “SLT Storage” facility reached one million files recently. Further, as the digital lifestyle partner of the Country SLT entered into the mobile gaming arena with “SLT Kimaki” in partnership with Arimac Lanka (Pvt) Ltd”.