Singtel Group has published a business update for the three months ended 30 June 2021, reporting a net profit of SGD445 million (USD328.6 million) compared to a loss of SGD20 million in the corresponding period of 2020. Noting a general all-round improvement in its fiscal first-quarter performance, the Singapore-based operator booked operating revenue of SGD3.798 billion, up 7.5% when compared to SGD3.534 billion a year ago. Further, EBITDA improved by 11.1% year-on-year to SGD997 million and underlying EBITDA (which excluded Australian unit Optus’ NBN migration revenues and Jobs Support Scheme credits from the Singapore government) improved 30.7% to SGD951 million. In the business update, the Group noted the EBITDA increase was ‘driven mainly by Australia Consumer’ while adding that its ‘Post-tax contributions from regional associates jumped 37%, due mainly to Bharti Airtel’s profit turnaround and Globe’s better showing’ in the Philippines. Singtel commented that Airtel’s ‘operating momentum’ in both India and Africa was ‘convincing’: Airtel saw revenues climbing 21.2% to USD3.62 billion with EBITDA rising from USD1.36 billion to USD1.78 billion. In addition, Airtel recovered from a net loss before exceptional items of USD58 million in 1Q20 to record a net gain of USD36 million this time around. Singtel has an effective stake of 31.7% in Airtel.
Commenting on the results, Group CEO Yuen Kuan Moon said: “The easing of COVID-19 restrictions has improved the overall operating and business environment and we are seeing the return of growth across the board in the first quarter. Some of the bright spots included Optus’ improved performance, continued broad-based growth in [business segment] NCS’ ICT business and Airtel’s profit turnaround.’