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SingTel Q2 profit up 19%
[SINGAPORE] Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, Southeast Asia’s largest telecommunications operator, reported a 19 percent rise in second-quarter net profit on Thursday, helped by higher contributions from its regional associates.
SingTel posted a net profit of S$1.04 billion (US$806 million) for the three months ended September, its highest in 10 quarters, compared with S$870 million a year ago. Its underlying net profit was S$979 million, excluding one-time items.
Revenue rose 4 per cent to S$4.31 billion. Its earnings before interests, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were S$1.33 billion, up 3 per cent.
SingTel’s share of pre-tax profits from its regional mobile associates grew 26 percent, mainly thanks to robust earnings at Bharti Airtel Ltd, the top mobile phone operator in India, of which SingTel owns nearly a third.
Post-tax profit contribution from Airtel grew 183 percent to S$93 million and accounted for 9 per cent of the group’s underlying net profit.
The company’s combined mobile customer base reached 532 million as at Sept. 30, up 1.3 per cent from a quarter ago SingTel has been trying to move beyond being a pure-play telco company by expanding its “digital life” segment, which includes mobile video and digital advertising.
It said revenue from the segment grew 142 per cent. It expects operating revenue for its digital life segment to exceed S$300 million in the current financial year, while the segment’s negative EBITDA will increase to about S$200-S$250 million.
The company also said it would create new revenue streams such as data analytics.
In a report this week, ratings agency Fitch warned SingTel’s leverage could deteriorate as it embarked on debt-funded acquisitions to expand the segment.
The company said it was keeping its outlook issued in May, expecting its consolidated revenue and EBITDA for the financial year ending March 2015 to be stable.