Southeast Asia’s Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) has released its financial and operational results for its fiscal third quarter to 31 December 2014, highlighting an 11.2% year-on-year increase in net income to SGD970 million (USD713 million), aided by strong mobile data revenue growth and a higher contribution from its regional associates. Group revenue in the third quarter increased 3.8% to SGD4.427 billion, fuelled by mobile customer growth, higher equipment sales and revenue from recent digital acquisitions. In constant currency terms, revenue would have grown 7% y-o-y, it said. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was 2.8% lower at SGD1.229 billion, impacted by handset subsidies on higher customer acquisition and ‘re-contract volumes’ in the Singapore consumer business.
Singtel noted that the pre-tax profit contribution from its regional mobile associates rose by around 28%, led by Indonesia’s PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel) and Bharti Airtel, the leading mobile operator in India, which also has significant assets in Africa; Singtel owns nearly one-third of Airtel shares and a majority stake in Telkomsel. As at 31 December the Group and its regional associates’ combined mobile subscriber base was 543 million, up 9% from a year earlier.
Commenting on the results, Ms Chua Sock Koong, Singtel Group CEO said: ‘We delivered a solid third quarter performance and successfully increased mobile data revenues with better networks, technology, content and service … In Singapore and Australia, we proactively acquired and re-contracted customers on the back of smartphone launches and successfully upgraded them to higher tiered data plans. The regional mobile associates also saw significant take-up of mobile data with higher smartphone penetration … The launch of HOOQ, a unique OTT video service, demonstrated our ability to leverage the Group’s assets and footprint to bring a compelling video experience with Hollywood and local content to at least half a billion mobile customers.’
The company has maintained its previously issued outlook, but said mobile service revenue from Singtel Optus (Australia) for the financial year is now expected to increase in the low single digits range, instead of decrease.