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SingTel, Bharti may tie Bangladesh units

SingTel, Bharti may tie Bangladesh units

Singapore: Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel) said on Thursday it was looking at the possibility of tying together its and Indian associate Bharti Airtel Ltd’s units in Bangladesh.

“Tower sharing and site sharing and all that will be the first path," SingTel group chief financial officer Jeann Low said, commenting on the potential to cut costs in Bangladesh now that Bharti is also present in the country.

SingTel has a 45% stake in Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Ltd, Bangladesh’s fifth largest mobile phone operator which has a market share of 4%.

SingTel, south-east Asia’s biggest telecom firm, earlier on Thursday reported a better-than-expected 6.6% rise in quarterly profits, thanks to contributions from its regional associate companies.

SingTel also said that it expected Bharti’s near-term earnings to be diluted by the cost of funding the acquisition of Zain’s African mobile operation and investment in 3G (third-generation) spectrum.

It noted Bharti’s intention to leverage its low-cost operating model to drive synergies in Zain’s 15 Africa markets.

However, Bharti was expected to maintain its market leadership in India despite the continued intense competition in the telecom sector, SingTel said in its annual report released on Thursday.

SingTel recorded a 13.3% year-on-year increase to $3.91 billion (around Rs17,600 crore) for the year ended 31 March. Its operating revenue rose 13% to $16.87 billion, driven mainly by information technology and engineering revenue. For the current fiscal, SingTel has projected better earnings, banking on healthy economic growths in Singapore, Australia, India and Indonesia.

Reuters

PTI contributed to this story.

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