Robi declares 3pc interim cash dividend

The mobile phone operator maintains growth momentum, ends Q1 of 2021 with Tk 343m profit

Staff Correspondent

12 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Robi Axiata Limited has declared 3 percent interim cash dividend for the year 2021.

The company's Board of Directors has recommended the dividend at 3 percent of the paid-up capital, which is Tk 0.30 against a share of Tk 10.

The decision was taken at the board meeting held on April 8, 2021.

The record date for entitlement of interim cash dividend is set on May 2, 2021.

"We have declared the interim cash dividend now because earlier we couldn't provide the dividend to our shareholders due to many uncertainties," said Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, Managing Director and CEO of Robi at a virtual press conference on Sunday. Presenting the quarterly business update for Jan-Mar 2021, he said, "We had many things in our hand at that time; hence we couldn't offer any kind of dividend to our shareholders."

"Now that we have settled everything, like spectrum auctions, we are very proud

to declare an interim cash dividend," Ahmed said.

Earlier, Robi offered no dividend for its shareholders despite earning Tk 1.55 billion in profits in the financial year 2019-20.

The company ended the first quarter of 2021 with profit after tax (PAT) of Tk 343 million despite the toll on financial performance caused by the impact of 2 percent minimum tax on gross revenue.

Robi’s total revenue in the Jan-Mar quarter of 2021 stood at Tk 19.81 billion, which is 3.2 percent higher than that of the last quarter of 2020 and 1.7 percent higher than the same quarter last year.

"While we have registered PAT of Tk 343 million in Q1 of 21, we have observed that it is being held back significantly by the impact of the 2 percent minimum tax on gross revenue," said Robi CEO.

“Not just that, this unjust tax has also denied us the benefit of slightly reduced corporate tax rate (40 percent) offered to the listed telecom companies,” he added.

He said, “It is more concerning that our general shareholders are being deprived of the value despite significant contributions to the bourses.”

Ahmed urged the authorities concerned to “unshackle” Robi’s business from this “unjust tax".

Having added 1 million new subscribers, Robi’s subscriber base reached 51.9 million by the end of Q1 of 2021.

At present, some 70.6 percent subscribers are internet users, while data revenue grew by 8.5 percent compared to last quarter, and by 16.3 percent compared to same quarter last year.

"Due to the long pending approval of DWDM equipment, we are still unable to make use of thousands of kilometers of fibre optic network which is critical to improving the quality of our service," said Mahtab Uddin Ahmed.

He said, “In absence of effective SMP regulations, telecom market continues to be distorted and such anti-competitive market distortions will have strong negative consumer welfare implications in the near future.”

However, Robi’s voice revenue declined by 4.2 percent, compared to the same period of the last year, indicating growing onslaught of OTT platforms for making voice calls.

On the back of 6.4 percent growth, Robi’s EBITDA stood at Tk 8.12 billion at the end of Q1 of 2021 compared to the last quarter.

Highlighting Robi’s superlative 4.5G service, Robi CEO stated that having acquired new spectrum in the recently concluded auction, “Robi is now poised to provide stable high speed mobile internet thanks to its total network site and spectrum mix on per subscriber basis.”

"With 70.6 percent of our subscribers being internet users at the moment, we believe, we are well on our way towards our goal of becoming the next generation digital champion," he hoped.