SingTel overseas assets shine for now, but could fade in 2005

4 Nov 2004

Singapore Telecom (SingTel) has reported a 21% increase in net profit, on the back of strong performances by its Asian subsidiaries and wholly owned Australian operation SingTel Optus. For the quarter ended 30 September 2004 SingTel reported an underlying net profit of SGD735 million, excluding goodwill and exceptional items; including these items the figure was SGD766 million, up 62% year-on-year. Revenues rose 9.5% in the quarter to SGD3.12 billion from SGD2.85 billion a year ago. The company warned, however, that future profit growth could slow, as increasing competition in some of its regional associates takes hold. SingTel owns major stakes in four Asian companies – Thailand’s AIS, India’s Bharti Group, Globe Telecom of the Philippines and Indonesia’s PT Telkomsel – which together generated SGD261 million in the second quarter, up 68% on the same period of 2003. Optus, meanwhile, accounted for 65% of SingTel’s revenue, as it continued to add wireless subscribers. At the end of September Optus Mobile claimed 5.9 million customers, up 16.7% on the year, boosting its market share by one percentage point to 35%.

At home SingTel’s performance continues to be mixed, with its domestic wireless operations having to prop up an ailing wireline business. International call revenues dropped 14.2% from a year ago to SGD167 million, while turnover from local services slipped 5.5% to SGD133 million.

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