Singtel Group has reported that net profit for the year ended 31 March 2021 slumped 49% to SGD554 million (USD418.4 million) from SGD1.08 billion, as operating revenue fell 5% to SGD15.64 billion from SGD16.54 billion and underlying net profit dropped 30% to SGD1.73 billion. In a press release, Southeast Asia’s largest telco by subscribers and revenue, said that the falling metrics reflected ‘NBN migration revenue tapering off for [Australian unit] Optus’ fixed business as migrations neared completion, ongoing impact from COVID-19 and continued carriage erosion’. EBITDA for the full year was SGD3.83 billion, down 16% year-on-year from SGD4.54 billion, impacted by ‘lower NBN migration revenue, lower retail fixed margins due to a higher mix of low margin NBN customers and lower roaming services’. More encouragingly, it noted that the pre-tax profit contribution from the Group’s regional associates was up 4% to SGD1.71 billion in spite of the challenges arising from the pandemic. ‘While Telkomsel, AIS and Globe showed declines in contributions, Airtel saw an improvement in its operating performance, boosted by strong growth in both India and Africa,’ it said.
Meanwhile, in its home market Singtel claims it continues to consolidate its position in the 5G sector with ‘the launch of the country’s first 5G standalone (SA) network this month’. It is also expanding its 5G in-building coverage to more indoor sites, it said, while in Australia, Optus has increased its 5G coverage with more than 1,100 sites across the country. In addition, the Group claims to be ’leveraging 5G to co-create new applications and use cases with enterprises with its multi-access edge compute platform’.
Commenting on the FY21 results, Yuen Kuan Moon, Singtel Group CEO, said: ‘This year’s results are disappointing given unprecedented headwinds from COVID-19 and ongoing structural challenges. The one-time exceptional charge also weighed on our bottom-line number. That said, NCS and our data centre services proved to be bright spots, showing strong growth as enterprises rushed to digitalise and transform their businesses. We will be capitalising on this mass digitalisation with plans for a strategic reset to drive recovery and growth.’
In its outlook for the current financial year ending 31 March 2022, Singtel expects dividends from the regional associates to be approximately SGD1.3 billion and the Group’s capital expenditure including 5G networks, to be around SGD2.4 billion, comprising AUD1.5 billion (USD1.16 billion) for Optus and SGD800 million for the rest of the Group.