Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) today posted a better-than-expected 12% increase in its fourth-quarter net profit, for the three months to 31 March 2010, due to strong performance from its regional associates. However, it issued a warning that it expects operating revenues in the current fiscal year to grow by ‘a single percentage digit’ only, as a result of higher CAPEX in Singapore and Australia. SingTel booked consolidated net profit of SGD1.02 billion (USD738.4 million) in the period under review, compared with SGD903.4 million in January-March 2009. Operating revenue was SGD4.47 billion, up 25.4% year-on-year from SGD3.57 billion.
Pre-tax profit from SingTel’s regional mobile associates – Bharti Airtel (India), Telkomsel (Indonesia), Advanced Info Service (Thailand), Pakistan’s Warid Telecom, the Philippines’ Globe Telecom and Pacific Bangladesh Telecom – rose 12% from a year earlier to SGD546 million with a higher contribution from its Indonesian affiliate. Commenting on the performance, SingTel group’s chief executive, Chua Sock Koong, said: ‘The fourth quarter concluded a successful year for us, despite the global financial crisis. With unrelenting focus on execution, we outperformed the markets in Singapore and Australia and met guidance for the financial year.’ In 2010 SingTel is investing heavily in next generation broadband networks at home and in Australia, as a result of which it expects operating revenue for the current fiscal year will likely grow at a ‘mid single-digit level’ and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) will fall to ‘low-to-mid single-digits’. Capital expenditure for 2010/11 is estimated at SGD830 million, with free cash of around SGD1.1 billion.