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Business

Malaysian Astro's net profits up on lower finance costs

KUALA LUMPUR -- Astro Malaysia Holdings, Malaysia's dominant pay-TV operator, said on Tuesday that net profit in the first quarter had increased 20% year-on-year to 202 million ringgit ($49 million) due to reduced asset depreciations and lower finance costs.

Revenue rose 2% to 1.36 billion ringgit in the quarter ended Apr. 30, Astro Malaysia said in a filing to the stock exchange in Kuala Lumpur. The increase came from advertising and home shopping, which offset a fall in subscription revenues from the pay-TV residential category. The company had a pay-TV penetration rate of 69% of Malaysian households, which translated to 4.9 million subscribers during the period.

"In an increasingly globally competitive marketplace, Astro remains focused on knowing our customers better, increasing customer reach, [and] strengthening our content pipeline," said Rohana Rozhan, Astro Malaysia's group chief executive.

With major sporting events like the UEFA Euro 2016 football championship and the Rio Olympics that are about to start, Astro will launch a dedicated e-sports channel on all its platforms, including on-demand services, targeting a growing community of sports fans in the region. The channel will cover live events and other sports programs.

The company has adapted to the increasing digitization of consumer lifestyles. Its mobile video platform, Tribe, which was launched in Indonesia in March, will soon reach the Philippines after an agreement with local group Globe Telecoms in April.

Astro's shares were up 0.36% to 2.76 ringgit at the close of trading on Tuesday.

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