Singtel's Q2 net profit falls 77% on tough regional competition, currency movements

9 Nov 2018

Singtel Group has released its second-quarter financial results for the three months to 30 September 2018, noting that declines across its group business and regional associates, as well as adverse currency movements and the absence of an earlier one-off gain, combined to drive its earnings to a 15-year low. The Singapore-based carrier booked net profit of SGD667 million (USD370.9 million), down 76.6% from SGD718 million in the year-ago period – its worst quarterly showing since 2003 – as operating revenue flat-lined at SGD4.270 billion, EBITDA fell 9.6% to SGD1.129 billion and operating income (EBIT) slumped 32.1% to SGD905 million from SGD1.331 billion. Underlying profit, excluding exceptional items, was lower by 21.8% at SGD715 million, compared to SGD915 million in its fiscal Q2 2017.

The regional operator said that its quarterly performance took a hit from negative currency movements, as well as challenges such as lower national broadband network migration revenues in Australia, and lower contributions from Airtel (India/South Asia and Africa) and Telkomsel (Indonesia), on intense competition in those units’ operating markets. Singtel Group also recorded exceptional losses of SGD48 million in the July-September quarter, attributed in large part to staff restructuring costs, and reversed a one-time gain of SGD1.940 billion in the year-ago quarter which was boosted by the sale of units in NetLink Trust.

Singtel Group reported that total mobile customers stood at 717.40 million at 30 September 2018, up from 669.86 million a year earlier, while proportionally it had 286.34 million subscribers, up from 254.77 million year-on-year. The operator said it had more than 4.12 million in its home market (up from 4.10 million) at end-September and 10.17 million at Australian arm Optus (9.83 million). Its regional associates, meanwhile, reported a mixed bag of results. Airtel reported a total of 429.29 million subscribers across its areas of operations, up from 366.06 million, but Telkomsel’s base slumped by around 23 million to 167.81 million following a registration scheme, and AIS Thailand was broadly flat at 40.65 million (40.19 million); Globe in the Philippines increased its base by a net six million to 65.36 million.