Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT) Group released its financial results for the first quarter of 2021, with a remarkable 14.3% year-on-year growth in Profit After Tax (PAT) to Rs. 2.1 Bn.
The Group revenue went up to Rs. 24.7 Bn for the period with a 11.4% year-on-year growth, strongly underpinned by the growth in revenues of FTTH, 4G LTE, mobile broadband services, PEOTV services and carrier domestic services. International voice revenue reflected a de-growth while international revenues from global transit and global data soared compared to the same period last year.
The EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation) of the Group improved to Rs. 9.7 Bn, a 13.6% year-on-year growth, lifting the EBITDA margin up to 39.4% from 38.6% in the same period last year. The surge in revenue largely contributed to the EBITDA growth. The growing capital expenditure in order to align with the global technological trends pushed the Depreciation and Amortisation of the Group up to Rs. 6.3 Bn, a 18.0% year-on-year increase.
The Operating Profit of the Group stood at Rs. 3.4 Bn, reflecting a 6.3% year-on-year growth resulting from the increase in Group EBITDA which was partly offset by the elevated Depreciation and Amortisation for the period. Interest expenses and finance cost charged to the Profit or Loss Statement increased to Rs. 0.8 Bn for the period under review while the FOREX losses declined to Rs. 0.3 Bn. The Profit Before Tax (PBT) rose to Rs. 2.8 Bn, up by 9.3% over the same period last year.
The growth in EBITDA coupled with the effective collection strategies of the Group almost tripled the Operating Cash Flow of the Group to Rs. 12.2 Bn for the period under review. Further, the Group managed to reduce the Long-Term Borrowings to Rs. 44.9 Bn as at the reporting date.
The holding company of the Group recorded an impressive 13.5% increase in revenue over the same period last year reaching Rs. 14.2 Bn. The PAT of the company went up to Rs. 1.4 Bn, reflecting a 16.2% year-on-year growth.
The mobile arm of the SLT Group, Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd too improved revenue for the quarter by 8.1% year-on-year to Rs. 11.6 Bn. The PAT of Mobitel soared during the period to Rs. 1.5 Bn which is a 65.4% year-on-year growth resulting from the increased revenue and the effective cost management measures.
The Group paid a total amount of Rs. 3.7 Bn as direct and indirect taxes including levies to the Government in the first quarter of 2021.
SLT Group Chairman, Mr. Rohan Fernando announced:
“I am extremely proud of my management team and my staff for delivering yet another solid quarter. Our business continued to accelerate in the first quarter with a double-digit growth in revenues and profits and with a robust operating cash flow. Consolidation of our Group Sales and Marketing under the SLT-MOBITEL unified branding contributed immensely in achieving the success we report in the first quarter. While uncertainty related to Covid-19 remains, we will stay focused on driving growth, building on favourable market trends, improving operational performance and delivering value for all our stakeholders.”
SLT Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Lalith Seneviratne remarked:
“Our first quarter financial performance represents a promising start to the year 2021. We commenced the year 2021 with the brand unification of SLT-MOBITEL which is another milestone in SLT Group’s legacy. The strategic journey of the SLT Group towards digital transformation has proven imperative with the present pandemic situation which has also demonstrated the critical role technology plays in everyday life. The Group remains resilient amidst the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic owing to our robust business execution coupled with our attractive product portfolio.”
SLT Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kiththi Perera stated:
“We are successfully progressing with our accelerated fibre expansion programme with an aim to provide ultra-speed Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) connections across the country. This year is pivotal to SLT since in mid-2021, SLT together with its mobile arm Mobitel aims at expanding and upgrading the present 4G network in view of providing an enhanced broadband experience and also to launch a pre-commercial 5G service using 3.5 GHz. In addition, SLT plans to invest in expanding its global network including the upcoming SEA-ME-WE 06 submarine cable system to connect to the world at the speed of Terra Bits per second. The domestic and global network expansions will be complimented by multiple digital initiatives in our efforts to continually improve customer experience and service levels.”
SLT Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Priyantha Fernandez commented:
“During this Covid-19 pandemic situation, SLT has provided an uninterrupted service to the nation and offered innovative yet affordable data packages to facilitate the shift towards work-from-home and study-from-home arrangements. Further, SLT in collaboration with Cisco and Millennium I.T.E.S.P. (Pvt) Ltd launched its new managed SD-WAN services to accelerate digitisation of enterprise and government customers in Sri Lanka. In addition, SLT-MOBITEL extended the PEO TV Go services to our mobile customers too to enjoy their favourite TV programmes.”
Mobitel Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Chandika Vitharana added:
“As the world continues to go through a challenging era due to the ongoing pandemic, SLT-MOBITEL which provides an indispensable and critical service under the prevailing conditions was able to create value to all its stakeholders. As the National Mobile Service Provider, Mobitel, the mobile arm of the SLT Group is aggressively expanding the network to rural areas to ensure no one is left behind in these difficult and challenging times. Many initiatives were carried out during this period to make Broadband accessible to all. Affordable bundle device offers to help increase smartphone penetration, attractive application-based data plans, mobile and home broadband plans to facilitate work-from-home and learn-from-home conditions are a few of the initiatives devised to make Broadband affordable and accessible to all segments of the society according to their needs. While making broadband available to all, SLT-MOBITEL is committed to providing uninterrupted connectivity to the nation during these turbulent times.”
Hemas Hospitals launches ‘Deewara Diri Savi’ to support fishing community
The donation programme was coordinated with the support of the Rev. Fr. Ajith Kamal, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Palliyawatta, who spearheaded the coordination on behalf of the fishing community in the Palliyawatta, Dikowita and Awarakotuwa areas.
Hemas Hospitals launches the ‘Deewara Diri Savi’ mega donation drive to support and empower the fishing community along the Western Coast of the country, whose livelihoods were gravely impacted by the marine destruction caused by the X-Press Pearl ship disaster.
Under ‘Deewara Diri Savi’, Hemas Hospitals will oversee the donation of complete dry ration packs to 818 families in the Wattala fishing community, who have now lost their sole source of income for survival and is undergoing extreme distress due to the implications caused by COVID-19 pandemic together with the fishing ban imposed due to the X-Press Pearl disaster. Further, Hemas Hospitals Wattala is also offering free OPD consultation services to these families to ensure that their wellbeing and access to healthcare is secure and continued during this period.
“Our mission, values and corporate culture guide our actions as we strive hard to deliver on the promise of making healthful living happen to communities across the nation. ‘Deewara Diri Savi’ was founded upon this ethos as we care for, uplift and empower Sri Lanka’s fishing community struggling to make ends meet due to the mass implications and destruction caused to our marine resources with the X-Press Pearl disaster. As a responsible healthcare leader, we will continue to invest our resources and take swift action in supporting this community who add so much to our economy as they transition through this deeply difficult, critical time,” Hemas Hospitals and Laboratories Managing Director and President, Association of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Dr. Lakith Peiris stated.
Looming challenges contribute to subdued trading activity at CSE
By Hiran H.Senewiratne
Share trading activity at the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) was negative yesterday as investors were in a state of uncertainty due to the glaring economic woes of the country. The recent fuel price hike, the worries over possible deprivation of the European Union’s GSP Plus trade facility as well as declining foreign exchange reserves put the local and foreign investors in an indecisive mood, stock market analysts said.
The fuel price hike is likely to increase inflationary pressure especially in the manufacturing sector. This would adversely reflect on manufacturing sector counters in the stock market. Further the sovereign bond repayment amounting to US $ one billion in July 2021 with existing reserves just above US $ four billion could worsen the economic crisis to a great extent, stock market analysts said.
Reportedly the Central Bank has informed the Ministry of Finance that due to the Rs 600 billion in loans to the Petroleum Corporation there is risk to the entire banking system being destabilized and collapsing, In such a context, the banking sector counters did not perform positively yesterday, stock market analysts said. The CPC itself has about Rs 390 billion in accumulated losses.
Amid those developments both indices moved downwards. All Share Price Index was down by 28.02 points and S&P SL20 down by 11.43 points.Turnover stood at Rs 1.36 billion with a single crossing. The crossing took place in People’s Leasing, which crossed two million shares to the tune of Rs 26 million and its share price traded at Rs 13.
In the retail market top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were LOLC Rs 156.8 million (406,000 shares traded), Royal Ceramic Rs 105 million Rs 105 million (2.78 million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 104.1 million (4.56 million shares traded), Hayleys Rs 76.1 million (one million shares traded) and Hayleys Fabrics Rs 51.6 million (2.85 million shares traded).
With the fuel price hike, Lanka IOC share price positively reflected in the stock market. Its share appreciated by 12 percent or Rs 2.40. Lanka-IOC share price started trading at Rs 20.60 and at the end of the day it moved up to Rs 23. During the 68.98 million share volumes changed hands in 18263 transactions.
Standard Chartered helps fast-track COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Sri Lanka
Standard Chartered Sri Lanka has successfully financed the import of 4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation by facilitating a trade loan to the Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank, the Bank announced recently.
In efforts to expedite the nation’s vaccination programme during the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Standard Chartered worked closely with the two leading state-owned banks to facilitate prompt and efficient trade financing solutions to help accelerate the invoice processing and payments to purchase the vaccines.
“Across the globe, Standard Chartered has been in the forefront to help local communities to fight the coronavirus pandemic so that the world can look forward to a better tomorrow. When the first wave hit Sri Lanka last year, Standard Chartered made a much-needed donation of USD500,000 to the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society to support emergency relief activities island-wide. This trade loan is a continuation of the Bank’s efforts to help the citizens of Sri Lanka overcome the pandemic and is a testament of Standard Chartered’s ‘here for good’ promise,” said Bingumal Thewarathanthri, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Sri Lanka.
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