Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) reported a 10.4% year-on-year rise in net profits in its fiscal first quarter to the end of June, to SGD927 million (USD611 million) compared with SGD839.5 million in the same period last year, driven by strong performances from its domestic and overseas operations. The net income beat an average net profit forecast of SGD894 million by four analysts polled by Reuters. The company has reiterated it is sticking to its previous guidance for ‘single-digit revenue growth’ for the full year and said that it would also stick to previously issued guidance for single-digit revenue growth in 2008, which it forecasts will be driven by mobile, data and information technology revenues.
Commenting on the group’s performance, incoming CEO Chua Sock Koong said: ‘We have made an excellent start to the new financial year with all our key businesses delivering strong earnings growth… Our Singapore business delivered double-digit increase in revenue, which is unprecedented in recent years.’ SingTel’s Australian mobile subsidiary SingTel Optus also performed strongly, Chua said, despite an intensely competitive market, helping drive consolidated revenues up 10.5% y-o-y to SGD3.6 billion. SingTel’s underlying net profit in the quarter, before goodwill and exceptional items, reached SGD868 million, up from SGD837 million a year ago. The company is reaping the rewards of its SGD18 billion investment in recent years to acquire operators in fast-growing Asian markets and in Australia. SingTel’s international operations now contribute around three-quarters of revenues and two-thirds of pre-tax earnings. The company owns major stakes in Thailand’s Advanced Info Service (21.5%), India’s Bharti Group (30.8%), Globe Telecom in the Philippines (44.6), Telkomsel in Indonesia (35%) and 45% of Bangladeshi operator Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Ltd.
In yesterday’s CommsUpdate we reported that SingTel had 136.35 million aggregate mobile subscribers in the region at the end of June 2007. SingTel and its associates added a net 12.6 million new customers in the three-month period, with Bharti (India) and Telkomsel (Indonesia) reporting the strongest growth rates.