SINGAPORE: SingTel, Southeast Asia’s top phone firm, posted a lower-than-expected 9.6% rise in quarterly profit on 8 Feb, despite rapid Asian mobile growth and stabilising margins at its Australian unit Optus.
Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., the city-state’s largest listed firm, said it would stick to previously issued guidance for flat full-year operating revenue and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA).
SingTel, which owns stakes in telecoms operators in Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, India and Bangladesh, made underlying net profit before goodwill and exceptionals of S$850 million ($555 million) in the fiscal third quarter to end-December, compared with a restated S$775 million a year ago.
The result was below an average net profit forecast of S$926.8 million from a Reuters survey of four analysts.
Attributable net profit was S$994 million, up 12.6% from a restated S$882 million the year before.
Battling heavy competition at home, where the mobile phone penetration rate has reached 100%, SingTel has spent about S$20 billion in recent years buying firms in high-growth Asian countries and in the bigger Australian market.
It now derives about 75% of revenues and two-thirds of pre-tax earnings from operations outside Singapore.
Group operating revenue was flat at S$3.38 billion for the quarter.