Robi’s profit hauled down by increased tax

Robi earned Tk 1.2 crore in profit in the second quarter of the year driven by data revenue growth, but the takings were far below what it made in the first quarter.

The second-largest mobile phone operator in Bangladesh logged Tk 11.5 crore in profit in the January-March quarter.

The fall in profit is largely attributed to the direct effect of the increase in minimum turnover tax to 2 percent from 0.75 percent, the operator said in a statement yesterday.

However, according to the new accounting practice of its parent Axiata Group, Robi incurred a loss of Tk 32.2 crore in the April-June quarter.

Axiata implemented the IFRS 16, an international financial reporting standard promulgated by the International Accounting Standards Board, in January that affected their balance sheet, the release said.

Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, managing director and chief executive officer of Robi, said they had a pretty good quarter but the new tax structure has changed the scenario.

“Although we registered a healthy growth in revenue in this quarter, the revised tax regime has emerged as an even bigger obstacle than the market-related challenges,” he said.

He said as they have feared, the minimum 2 percent tax on the total revenue, the imposition of direct tax on statutory disallowances, and the existing regulatory barriers have had a crippling effect on the financial performance in the second quarter.

“Going forward, we are very worried that the doubling of SIM tax and the increased supplementary duty will further add to the financial woes as a struggling smaller operator.”

The operator’s revenue grew 12.4 percent to Tk 1,858.7 crore compared to the same quarter a year ago. Data revenue was up 28.9 percent. The subscriber base expanded by 7.2 percent year-on-year to 4.79 crore at the end of June, representing 29.6 percent of the market share.

At the end of June, 3.1 crore subscribers were data users, accounting for 62.8 percent of its subscriber base.

Robi contributed Tk 679.7 crore to the government coffer in the second quarter.