KUALA LUMPUR (Dow Jones)--Axiata Group Bhd. (6888.KU) posted Thursday a 44% improvement in its second-quarter earnings from a year earlier due to a MYR532 million foreign exchange gain and higher revenue from its key operating units.

The Malaysia-based mobile operator said in a filing that its net profit for the three months ended June 30 rose to MYR526.8 million from MYR366.6 million a year earlier.

Revenue increased to MYR3.16 billion from MYR2.93 billion previously due primarily to higher income from its Malaysian unit Celcom and Axiata Bangladesh.

The company said its Indonesian unit Excelcomindo also reported higher revenue, but showed a marginal 2% slip on consolidation due to the depreciation of the rupiah against ringgit.

Axiata said it expects the group's full-year revenue and earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, growth will be at the higher end of the key performance indicator range and its annualized return on equity will be moderately above earlier guidance.

The company earlier announced target revenue growth between 6% and 11% this year, and set target growth for earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, between 4% and 6%, aiming for a 4% average return on equity.

Axiata also said it will continue to focus on improving operational efficiencies at major subsidiaries and "preserving the momentum of sequential improvements."

For the first half of the year, Axiata said net profit was 23% lower at MYR590.7 million.

-By K.P. Lee, Dow Jones Newswires; (603) 2026 1233; kwan-por.lee@dowjones.com


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