Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) said net profits for its fiscal third-quarter ended 31 December 2012 fell 8.3% year-on-year, largely due to charges on its associate businesses in Australia and the Philippines. Net profit for the period under review reached SGD827.1 million (USD668.7 million), down from SGD902.0 million in the year-ago period, on revenues that dipped 4.8% to SGD4.6 billion. The group, southeast Asia’s largest telecommunications firm by revenue, submitted a filing to the Singapore Exchange noting that the ‘relatively strong’ Singapore dollar will likely ‘limit the benefit of a growing overseas user base in the year ending 31 March 2013’. The group expects this effect will have a negative impact on revenue – which is expected to be in the ‘low single-digit’ range, while EBITDA is expected to be ‘stable’.
Given the growth constraints in its increasingly saturated home market, SingTel has become more reliant upon its overseas assets to fuel revenues and profits. SingTel’s international affiliates currently contribute close to 66% of revenues – with much coming from an expansion to the overall mobile base, which rose 9% year-on-year to 473 million aggregate users at 31 December 2012. However, SingTel said it incurred a SGD68 million one-time charge in the period, relating to network upgrades for Globe Telecom in the Philippines (approximately SGD30 million), as well as SGD38 million in restructuring costs for its 100% owned Australian operation Optus. Nevertheless, pre-tax profits from SingTel’s regional mobile affiliates increased by 1.2% y-o-y to SGD455 million, it said.