SingTel sees first revenue fall in 14 yrs

Nov 14 2012, 16:48 IST
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SummarySingTel posted a weaker-than-expected quarterly profit, hit by tough competition in Australia mkt.

billion during the quarter, helped by a strong performance from IT and engineering arm NCS. In mobile phones, SingTel's share of the local market rose by 0.2 percentage point from the previous quarter to 46.6 percent.

Even so, SingTel's postpaid average revenue per mobile phone user fell about 6 percent to S$80 during the quarter as roaming income declined amid the growing popularity of cheaper Internet data and voice services such as WhatsApp and Viber.

SingTel's results were also hurt by the strength of the Singapore dollar, which depressed contributions from India, Indonesia and Thailand.

The Singapore dollar has gained 6 percent against the U.S. dollar so far this year, the second-best performing Asian currency after the Philippine peso among 10 currencies tracked by Reuters.

Telkomsel, for instance, had a pretax profit increase of 26 percent in local currency terms, but this translated into a smaller rise of 16 percent when converted in Singapore dollars.

Excluding currency movements, SingTel's underlying net profit, which excludes one-off items, would have risen 2.9 percent year-on-year.

Overall, pretax earnings from SingTel's regional mobile associates grew 17 percent to S$549 million, with strong performances from Telkomsel and Thailand's Advanced Info Service PCL helping to offset weaker results from Bharti.

SingTel's consolidated revenue does not include contributions from Telkomsel, in which it has an effective stake of about 35 percent, and other regional mobile operators because it owns less than 50 percent of these firms.

Bharti, which is around one-third owned by SingTel, last week reported its 11th consecutive quarter of profit declines, with margins under pressure from intense competition.

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