Result highlights for the first quarter of the financial year ended 31 January 2021 (Q1FY21)Tun Zaki Azmi, Chairman of Astro, said: “As an essential service provider, Astro continued to operate during the MCO. Having instituted our Business Continuity Plan (BCP), we remained focused on delivering uninterrupted service to our customers whilst safeguarding the health and safety of our employees.

"Despite the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, Astro continues to be cash generative, cost disciplined and proactive in its capital management. Its balance sheet remains strong to weather headwinds in this trying time. The Board has declared a first interim dividend of 1 sen per share.”

Henry Tan, Group Chief Executive Officer of Astro said: “Astro was quick to take a series of actions to support the nation, customers and communities. We kept Malaysians informed and entertained with complimentary viewing of additional channels on Astro, NJOI and Astro GO as well as provided learning content to all students. As an essential service provider, we assisted in broadcasting over 3,000 hours of public service announcements (PSAs), provided news coverage and debunked misinformation across our TV, radio and digital platforms. With the closure of cinemas, we worked with local film producers to premiere their movies direct to homes on Astro First.”

“During this difficult time, we temporarily suspended disconnections and offered instalment payment plans for eligible customers to alleviate their financial burden. In addition, with the postponement of live sports events globally, Astro offered Sports Pack customers complimentary viewing of all channels as well as a one-off rebate of RM40 per subscriber pack. Our efforts during MCO have been duly recognised by heightened customer engagement and sentiment.”

“Our businesses were impacted by lower advertising spends and restrictions in upselling and installations. With most commercial establishments not allowed to operate, we proactively introduced flexible subscription and payment arrangements.”

Revenue was lower by RM182mn y-o-y, impacted by a decline in advertising and subscription, and Astro's prudent revenue recognition approach. The Group raised provisions for doubtful debt and is actively engaging with affected customers to manage receivables. Despite lower operating expenses mainly resulting from savings in content cost, earnings were impacted by unrealised forex losses.

Key Highlights:Outlook

Households and businesses globally continue to face unprecedented social and economic disruption brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Astro is no exception to this and is braced for a challenging FY21, with uncertainties prevailing. The Group expects to face headwinds in its advertising and commercial revenue as well as elevated collection risk, and has accordingly raised provisions on receivables.

The Group has been agile in adapting to the new normal, allowing us to deepen our engagement with our customers, strengthen our value proposition and to seize opportunities for adjacencies in commerce, broadband, digital and OTT post MCO. Astro will proactively pursue disciplined cost optimisation and active capital management to further strengthen our financial position.

*Normalised PATAMI excludes post-tax impact of unrealised forex gain/(loss) due to mark-to-market revaluation of transponder-related lease liabilities.