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Singtel's Q2 net profit falls 5.6% without Airtel's exceptional gains seen a year ago
SINGTEL said on Thursday that its net profit for the fiscal second quarter ended September 30, 2016 fell 5.6 per cent to S$972 million without the exceptional gains recorded by Airtel last year.
Operating revenue fell 2 per cent from a year ago to around S$4.1 billion, but would have been up 2.3 per cent at S$4.3 billion if the impact of mandated cuts to mobile termination rates in Australia were excluded.
The group's underlying net profit for the quarter was stable, and up 3.4 per cent at S$1.9 billion at half time.
The telco saw a strong performance from its regional mobile associates, notably Telkomsel and Airtel. Combined mobile customer base reached 629 million by end September 2016, up 16 million, or 2.6 per cent from a quarter ago.
Telkomsel's pre-tax profit jumped 22 per cent as it benefitted from network investments and growth across voice, data and digital businesses. Airtel's pre-tax profits grew a healthy 13 per cent on strong execution and lower fair value losses from Airtel Africa. Airtel further entrenched its network leadership in India with its strategic acquisition of spectrum, giving it nationwide 3G and 4G coverage.
In Thailand, AIS continued to accelerate the ollout of its 4G network, reaching 65 per cent of the population at the end of September 2016 and held its market and network leadership position. However, higher handset subsidies, spectrum amortisation and network depreciation impacted earnings this quarter.
In the Philippines, Globe is investing another US$300 million in network expansion which would see the rollout of more LTE 700 and LTE 2600 sites across key cities nationwide.
In Australia, operating revenue declined 11 per cent reflecting the decline in mobile termination rates and higher mobile service credits from device repayment plans partly offset by higher equipment sales.
Singapore continued its growth trajectory, driven by demand in mobile data and ICT services, particularly cyber security. Operating revenue in Singapore decreased by 3.4 per cent, with declines in voice, including mobile voice roaming, and equipment sales amid a more subdued economic environment.
The board approved an interim dividend of 6.8 cents per share, representing a payout ratio of 56 per cent of underlying net profit for the half year.
Looking ahead, Singtel's operating revenue for for the group and for the core business comprising consumer and enterprise business are both expected to decline by low single digit. Earning before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the group and for the core business are both expected to be stable.