Singapore’s second largest telecoms group StarHub said net profits for the three months ended 31 March 2011 rose 62% year-on-year to SGD69.1 million (USD56.2 million) from SGD42.7 million previously, fuelled by higher operating income and aided by lower expenses. Operating expenses fell 5.7% to SGD470.8 million on operating revenue that grew by only 0.2% to SGD558.5 million, it said. StarHub said sales derived from fixed line operations reported the highest growth (3.3%). However, revenues from its pay-TV business declined 9.9% y-o-y to SGD91.6 million as a result of lower pricing and a fall in subscriptions to its sports channels. StarHub lost the rights to broadcast English Premier League (EPL) football last year to rival SingTel.
In a statement StarHub said that based on the current outlook, the firm would maintain its 2011 operating revenue growth year-on-year to be in the single-digit range and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) margin as a percentage of service revenue to be about 30%. The company’s EBITDA in the first quarter grew 35% to SGD160 million, from SGD118 million in the year-earlier quarter.
StarHub closed out the first quarter with 2.145 million mobile subscribers, up 145,000 year-on-year but flat on 4Q10. The telco’s pay-TV base grew marginally from 541,000 to 542,000 in the same period, while broadband users reached 425,000, up from 408,000 in 1Q10.
Commenting on the first-quarter results, StarHub CEO Neil Montefiore said: ‘We have delivered a good set of results in the first quarter of 2011 against the same quarter in 2010 … The smartphone revolution continues with over 70% of our post-paid customers using them. Despite intense competition, we are very pleased with the growth in our pay TV base. Our Fixed Network business has also put up a strong performance with the higher take-up of Data & Internet services. As the Next Gen NBN continues to roll out, we see opportunities for growth, particularly in the corporate sector.’