Axiata Sees Continued Support from Shareholders at AGM
Shareholders resolved the receipt of the Group’s Audited Financial Statements for the financial year ended 31 December 2013 (“FY2013”) which saw the Group post strong results exceeding all key targets set for the year. Despite volatile markets, intense competition and emerging market challenges, the Group managed to sustain underlying performance for the 5th consecutive year. Most Operating Companies (“OpCos”) performed well with the Group posting solid revenue growth of 4.1%. PATAMI (“Profit after Tax and Minority Interests”) grew 1.5% despite forex impact of RM201.0 million as well as significant capex and opex investments in data and new initiatives. Group’s total subscriber base expanded to over 244 million, making Axiata one of the largest telcos in the region.
Axiata also ended the year in a position of strength with RM6.4 billion in cash and maintained healthy balance sheet, a significant achievement amidst a volatile economic backdrop. Axiata’s Gross Debt to EBITDA ratio is now at 1.85x.
Re-election of Directors
Datuk Azzat Kamaludin, Mr Juan Villalonga Navarro and Mr Kenneth Shen, all returning by rotation, were re-elected as Directors. Datuk Azzat is also the Senior Independent Director whilst Mr Shen, is the representative of Khazanah on the Board of Axiata.
Re-appointment of Auditors
Shareholders approved the re-appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers as the Auditors of the Company for FY2014.
Proposed Dividend Reinvestment Scheme
Shareholders approved the proposed Dividend Reinvestment Scheme (DRS) that will provide them the option to elect to reinvest in whole, or in part, their cash dividend in new Axiata shares. Under the DRS, shareholders can elect to reinvest in whole, or in part, the Electable Portion at the issue price for new Axiata shares. In the event that only part of the Electable Portion is reinvested, the Shareholders shall receive the remaining portion of the Dividend entitlement wholly in cash.
The DRS, if implemented, is expected to benefit the Group from a capital management standpoint whereby the reinvestments of dividends will enlarge Axiata’s share capital base and strengthen Axiata’s share position. It is also expected to improve the liquidity of Axiata shares on the Main Market of Bursa Securities.
Shareholders approved the final dividend of 14 sen for FY2013. Together with the interim dividend of 8 sen per share paid last year, the 22 sen dividend equals to a 75% payout which marks a 5 percentage point increase from 2012’s ordinary dividend payout ratio of 70%.
In the future, the Group will continue maintaining healthy dividend payout subject to a number of factors. This includes actual 2014 overall financial performance, capital requirements, growth expansion strategies as well as dividends received from subsidiaries.
Axiata Chairman, Tan Sri Dato’ Azman Hj. Mokhtar said “We are very happy with the outcome of the AGM and I would like to thank our shareholders for the continued support they have shown us. 2013 was an eventful year for Axiata and the support shown is a very important validation of the Group’s strategy and results so far”.
Dato’ Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, President & Group Chief Executive Officer of Axiata added “It was a challenging year due to competition, adverse forex movements and data investments in Indonesia. Nevertheless, the Group still managed to end the year in a position of strength, sustaining our growth momentum for the 5th consecutive year, which enabled us to progressively increase our dividends at Group level”.