Singapore’s SingTel Group has reported a 5.5% increase in net profit in its third financial quarter ended 31 December 2013 to SGD872 million (USD689 million). In constant currency terms, net profit would have increased 13%, the firm said. Group revenue dropped by 7.3%, however, to SGD4.26 billion, reflecting lower mobile revenue from Australia and a ‘generally cautious business climate’ in the Asia-Pacific region; sales at the Australian unit Optus were down 13.7% year-on-year at SGD2.50 billion. EBITDA, meanwhile, was stable at SGD1.26 billion including the effects of currency translation, but would have grown 5.7% in constant currency terms, SingTel revealed.
The Group says it continues to register strong customer growth, with its combined mobile customer base increasing by 8.9% – or 40.9 million users – in the year to end-December 2013 to cross the half-billion mark. SingTel’s operations comprise consumer businesses in Singapore and Australia, as well as investments in AIS of Thailand, Airtel in India and Africa, Globe in the Philippines, PBTL in Bangladesh and Telkomsel in Indonesia. The firm said in its domestic market it had attracted 899,000 4G mobile users by the end of 2013, up from 250,000 twelve months earlier, with the total number of subscribers up 5.5% at 3.96 million. The mobile customer total fell 1.4% in Australia, however, with Optus ending the year with 9.43 million subscribers. Airtel registered 198.5 million customers in India and 76.7 million across its operations in Africa at the same date, up from 181.9 million and 69.2 million respectively a year earlier, while Telkomsel saw its own subscriber total climb from 125.1 million at end-2012 to 131.5 million twelve months later. Rounding out SingTel’s international investments, Thai subsidiary AIS claimed 40.9 million subscribers as of 31 December 2013 (35.7 million a year before), Globe had 38.5 million (33.1 million) and PBTL had 1.4 million (1.5 million).