The past year seems to have been a blessing for Grameenphone as the country's leading telecom operator reported 7.82% growth in net profit in 2020, shrugging off the unforeseen challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and regulatory impositions.
In 2020, the company's total revenue was Tk13,960 crore, but it also registered a 2.8% fall in revenue compared to previous year.
The profit is mostly propelled by significant growth in data revenue.
The company has shared around 100% of the profit as dividend with its shareholders at a time when other organisations are resorting to profit accumulation to face the economic challenges ahead.
The operator has a liability of Tk10,579 crore to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission(BTRC) over an audit report claim.
On the other hand, the company has a reserve and surplus of Tk1,692 crore as of 31 December, 2019, according to the Dhaka Stock Exchange.
The beginning of 2020 was not quite good for the leading carrier owing to the dispute with the telecom regulator over an audit claim, unprecedented landing of the Covid-19 pandemic and significant market power (SMP) restrictions – causing a concern to the operator's financial flow.
However, the year ended up differently as the company got 26 lakh new subscribers -- which is 3.26% higher than the previous year – alongside the profit growth.
Commenting on the financial results, Grameenphone Ltd's Chief Executive Officer Yasir Azman said, "We have been successful in ensuring uninterrupted operations and distribution value chain while expanding our network operations."
"Economic recovery in the fourth quarter was lower-than-expected, impacting us in a year full of unprecedented challenges amidst the pandemic. Through collaboration and dialogue, we have resolved several regulatory issues during this period," he added.
In a press release Thursday, Grameenphone stated that it invested Tk1,000 crore for network coverage last year. At present, its total sites stand at 16,547, of which 14,080 are 4G facilitated.
Chief Executive Officer Yasir said, "While Covid-19 induced uncertainties prevails, we are committed to using our technology expertise and digital know-how in aiding the recovery from the pandemic by bringing in innovative products and services for the customers."
In the meantime, Jens Becker, chief financial officer of Grameenphone, said their data revenue increased by 14% in 2020 compared to the previous year.
"We are pleased to announce that the board of directors have recommended a final dividend of Tk14.5% for our shareholders," he said.
The company paid 130% cash dividend to the stockholders in the second quarter of last year.