Robi books record profit for 2023, with highest number of new subscribers


Robi Axiata has reported a record profit for 2023, supported by a robust revenue growth on inclusion of a record number of new subscribers.

The country’s second-largest telecom operator registered nearly a 16 per cent growth in revenue to Tk 99.42 billion in 2023, while profit jumped 75 per cent to Tk 3.21 billion.

Robi saw the highest revenue growth among all telecom operators in the Asia Pacific region in the two consecutive quarters to September 2023.

The board of directors declared a 10 per cent cash dividend for 2023, the highest since the company’s listing in the stock market in 2020.

The dividends to be given to shareholders are equivalent to 165 per cent of the profit after tax in 2023, said the telecom operator in its price sensitive information published on Thursday.

Robi will distribute Tk 5.24 billion in cash dividends for 2023, against a profit of Tk 3.21 billion, meaning the company will provide Tk 2.03 billion from its retained earnings and reserve.

“This stellar performance reflects the highest level of trust Robi’s subscribers have for our strong network,” said Rajeev Sethi, managing director and CEO of Robi Axiata.

Propelled by the best video streaming services in the telecom industry, Robi has retained leadership in 4G services. Robi secured the first position in the industry in terms of the number of new subscribers joining its network last year.

Robi added 4.30 million new subscribers in 2023, reaching 50.87 million, which was 31 per cent of the country’s total mobile phone subscribers.

Robi has ensured 4G coverage for 98.8 per cent of the population with more than 16,800 4G sites across the country by the end of 2023.

Robi maintained the leading position when it comes to 4G subscribers, as 61 per cent of its subscribers were 4G users. Moreover, more than 76 per cent of Robi’s total subscribers were data users, the highest in the industry.

“The number of subscribers soared amid higher levels of confidence in our network,” said Mr Sethi.

In 2023, Robi contributed Tk 56.61 billion to the national exchequer, equivalent to 57 per cent of its total revenue, in the form of taxes, VAT, duties, licenses, and spectrum assignment fees.

Robi invested Tk 19.03 billion as capital expenditure in 2023.

Rajeev urged the regulator to reform the regulatory framework to facilitate substantial and speedy contribution of mobile operators towards achieving the goal of smart Bangladesh.

He underlined the need to ensure that the regulator does not give any special advantage to any single operator because, he said, it will further distort the fragile market competition in the industry.

-Stock market listing-
The telecom operator started its journey in 1997 under the brand name of Aktel. It then changed its name to Axiata (Bangladesh) in 2009 and took the present name Robi Axiata in 2010.

Robi joined the stock market in December 2020, with the largest-ever initial public offering (IPO) in Bangladesh’s capital market history.

It raised roughly Tk 5.24 billion from the primary market, involving a wide range of investors, including its own employees, under the fixed-price method.

The company used the IPO proceeds for network expansion.

Asian telecom giant, Axiata Group Berhad, based in Malaysia, holds 61.82 per cent share in Robi Axiata, while Bharti Airtel holds a 28.18 per cent stake and general public the remaining 10 per cent in the company.