Singtel Group said that half-year net profit for the six months ended 30 September 2020 (H1 FY21) reached SGD466 million (USD345.6 million), reversing a loss of SGD127 million in the corresponding year-earlier period, although first-half revenues of SGD7.425 billion marked a 10% decline from the SGD8.265 billion recorded in H1 FY20 – due to lower equipment sales, roaming and pre-paid mobile revenue.
In a press release, the group reported: ‘Singtel’s performance for the first half of the year reflected weakness in our Australia fixed line business amid structural challenges in the industry, the impact from COVID-19 and soft economic conditions’. It went on to point out that EBITDA dropped 19% year-on-year to SGD1.903 billion from SGD2.345 billion as a result of ‘lower NBN migration revenue, margin pressure from NBN resale in Australia as well as lower equipment margin and roaming services’. More positively, pre-tax contributions from regional associates rose 11% for the half year as ‘improved performance from Airtel offset the impact of COVID-19 and price pressures in other associates’ markets’. Here, Singtel Group noted that: ‘Pre-tax contributions from the regional associates rose 11% for the half year as improved performance from Airtel offset the impact of COVID-19 and price pressures in other associates’ markets’. Furthermore, Singtel’s African operations also recorded ‘strong operating momentum’ driven by an uptick in voice, data and Airtel Money revenues thanks to efforts to increase ‘rural distribution and wider network coverage to support customers through the pandemic’. In Indonesia, however, Telkomsel continues to face ‘competitive pricing pressure’ resulting in continuing declines in its legacy business, while AIS (Thailand) and Globe Telecom (Philippines) saw their performances ‘affected by cuts to business and consumer spending and reduced roaming as a result of COVID-19’. The Thai operator also reported higher depreciation from ‘increased network investment and amortisation of 5G spectrum.’