Southeast Asia’s largest telecoms group Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) has posted a 17% drop in quarterly net profit for the January-March period, and said it is considering acquisitions overseas to offset weak revenue growth in its home market. SingTel, which is 55%-owned by state investment group Temasek Holding, reported fourth-quarter attributable net profit of SGD903 million (USD million), compared with SGD1.09 billion in the corresponding period a year ago. Revenue fell 5.1% year-on-year to SGD3.57 billion, while a stronger domestic currency saw full year 2008/09 revenue rise by only 0.6%. It declined to divulge specific targets or possible expansion markets but pointed to Pakistan as a mobile market in which it expects to see consolidation in the short term. SingTel owns a 30% stake in Pakistan’s Warid Telecom, the country’s fourth largest cellco by subscribers.
Domestic operations reported a 12.7% rise in quarterly turnover and a 20% increase in EBITDA, it said, while full-year revenue was up 13.1%. However, given the heavily saturated and relatively modest size of its domestic market, SingTel now derives more than two-thirds of its revenue and EBITDA from its operations outside Singapore. Full-year revenue from its Australian unit Optus recorded 7.2% growth, despite the global economic slowdown, although Indonesian subsidiary Telkomsel reported a 29% drop in its quarterly net profit as intense competition forced it to lower tariffs.