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Grameenphone’s Financial Results 2018, Grameenphone’s Data Business

Grameenphone Ltd. reported total revenues of BDT 132.8 billion for 2018, registering a 3.4% annual growth. Data revenue grew by 21% along with voice revenue growth of 6.6% in 2018. During the 4th quarter, total revenue grew by 7.7%, according to a press release sent to FS.

Grameenphone Ltd. acquired 7.4 million new subscribers in 2018, registering a 11.3% growth. The company also added 5.9 million internet subscribers; 51% of total subscribers of Grameenphone Ltd. are using internet services.

“In 2018 we delivered a strong business performance driven by excellent execution in the market. We launched 4G in Bangladesh in February and faced many challenges this year with a tough competitive environment and regulatory directives. We witnessed healthy growth in voice and data revenue” said Michael Patrick Foley, CEO of Grameenphone Ltd. He added, “We will continue to drive our proven strategic priorities with speed and agility while providing value to our customers, employees and shareholders.”

“Grameenphone Ltd. completed 2018 with a strong performance with efficiency and profitability. We recorded a healthy growth in subscriber base and corresponding usage. Throughout the year there was aggressive competition affecting data pricing, along with the implementation of unified tariff for voice”, said Karl Erik Broten, CFO of Grameenphone Ltd, he added “With the growth potential of the market and our focus on operational efficiency, simplification, and driving value for our customers, we are optimistic in delivering profitable growth going forward. We are also happy to announce that the Board of Directors has recommended a final dividend of BDT 28 per share for our honorable shareholders.”

Important numbers:

  • Data revenue grew by 21% along with voice revenue growth of 6.6% in 2018. GP has invested in a host of digital services such as GP Music, Bioscope, Wowbox and so on, which it wanted to bundle for its users. However, the advantage of this bundling is not evident in the numbers yet. There can be two explanations for this: 1) the market probably is not ready yet for these services to make any meaningful difference 2) consumer acceptance of these services is limited until now. Whatever the reason, the strategic implication is very different for each reason.
  • Grameenphone’s number of data subscribers increased by 5.8 million to 37.1 Mn, leading to a 18.9% growth from the same period last year and a 0.2% growth from last quarter. APPMB remained steady from last quarter while ARPU grew by 3.6%. Data ARPU grew 25.1% YoY while AMBPU was 51.7% higher, positively contributing to data revenue growth.
  • The industry acquired 11.8 Million new subscribers, growing 8.2% from last year. Real sim penetration in the country stands at 57% at the end of 2018.

The Board of Directors of Grameenphone Ltd. have recommended 28 BDT per share for the full year 2018 dividend based on the decision taken at the Board Meeting held on 27 January 2019. With this, the total cash dividend stands at 155% of paid up capital which represents 108% of Profit After Tax for the year 2018 (including 125% interim cash dividend). The Shareholders as of the record date of 17 February 2019 will be entitled for this final dividend, which is subject to the Shareholders’ approval at the 22nd AGM to be held on 23 April 2019.

“There are many regulatory initiatives of significance currently in discussion phase for implementation during 2019. Some initiatives of note are the anticipated regulations on SMP (significant market power), Tower Sharing Licensing and Quality of Service. We would like to reiterate our commitment towards meaningful consultations between industry and government that can enrich the industry service propositions further, which in-effect will facilitate the current economic growth momentum of the country,” said Michael Patrick Foley, CEO of Grameenphone Ltd.

Grameenphone, part of the Telenor Group, is a leading telecommunications service provider in Bangladesh with more than 71 million subscribers. Since its inception in 1997, Grameenphone has built the largest cellular network in the country, covering nearly 99 percent of the country's population. Grameenphone is listed on the Dhaka Stock Exchange.

Cover photo: Grameenphone CEO Michael Patrick Foley (Right) along with CFO Karl Erik Broten (Left) speaking to the financial analysts of different companies at GP House today (28 January 2019).

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