Astro hit by Indo costs

Astro All Asia Networks’ (HQ, left) second-quarter results have made clear just how much the company’s Indonesian venture with PT Direct Vision was costing the company – in all RM309 million (US$89 million) from May to June alone.

Astro confirmed again that its agreement with PTDV to provide “support and services” was not renewed but had been extended for a month, to the end of September. That wouls allow PTDV to make alternative arrangements.

“As a result of these developments,” Astro said, “in the second quarter, the Group provided RM231 million for costs relating to commitments previously made and the impairment of assets used in the provision of services to PTDV. In the same period, the Group also incurred additional costs of RM78 million for services provided to PTDV.”

Some of the PTDV customers may be encouraged to switch to a new Astro Indonesian involvement, Aora TV.

Primarily because of the PTDV, Astro reported a group-wide loss of RM247 million in the quarter, despite revenues up 18% to RM743 million and EBITDA up 14% to RM177 million.

Elsewhere, Astro’s business is strong, with pay-TV subs up from 2.37 million to 2.47 million during the quarter. Subs have grown from 2.11 million a year ago.

The pay-TV business “benefited from sustained demand for local, exclusive sports and event-driven programming and marketing efforts targeted at under-penetrated markets,” said Astro. Pay-TV revenues were up 18% at Rm666 million from the year-ago quarter, with