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Singtel Q4 profit up 1.8%; Airtel key drag amid new competition
SINGAPORE Telecommunications' net profit increased by 1.8 per cent to S$963.3 million in its fourth fiscal quarter as weakness in India dragged down better performances in other key markets.
On a per-share basis, the telco's profit for the three months ended March 31 slipped to 5.9 Singapore cents from a year-ago 5.94 Singapore cents. Full-year net profit slipped 0.5 per cent to S$3.85 billion, or 23.96 Singapore cents per share, from S$3.87 billion, or 24.29 Singapore cents per share.
Singtel is maintaining a final dividend payout of 10.7 Singapore cents per share. Including an interim dividend of 6.8 Singapore cents that has already been paid out, total dividends for the year will be 17.5 Singapore cents per share, in line with the year-ago payout.
Singtel shares closed at S$3.75 on Wednesday before the results were announced.
Operating revenue increased by 5.2 per cent to S$4.3 billion during the quarter, although in constant currency terms the increase was a more modest 2 per cent.
Singtel's India business, Airtel, was an underperformer during the quarter as a new entrant in the market increased pricing pressures. Underlying net profit in constant currency terms was down 1.4 per cent including Airtel, but up 4.8 per cent excluding Airtel.
Consumer businesses in Singapore and Australia, however, performed better, while Telkomsel in Indonesia also posted higher contributions.
Looking ahead, Singtel expects its core group consumer and enterprise businesses to report low single-digit growth in revenue and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) in the year ending March 2018. Low single-digit growth is also expected in Australia mobile service revenue and Singapore mobile communications revenue. Mid-single digit improvement is expected for managed services and business solutions revenue.
Negative Ebitda for group digital life is expected to shrink to about S$100 million.