SingTel net profit down 32.6% in fourth quarter

SingTel net profit down 32.6% in fourth quarter

SINGAPORE - Singapore Telecom said Wednesday its net profit fell 32.6 per cent in the fiscal fourth quarter, weighed down by a loss on the sale of its stake in a Pakistani mobile phone firm.

Earnings for the three months to March were Sg$868 million, down from Sg$1.3 billion in the same period the year before, said SingTel, Southeast Asia's biggest telecom firm by revenue.

Fourth quarter revenue stood at Sg$ 4.48 billion, easing 6.3 per cent from last year.

SingTel said in a statement that fourth quarter earnings were dragged down by a one-time loss of Sg$225 million from the sale of its stake in Pakistan's loss-making Warid Telecom.

For the full year to March, net profit came in at Sg$3.51 billion, down 12 per cent.

"We delivered strong operating results against significant industry challenges and adverse foreign currency movements," said SingTel group chief executive Chua Sock Koong.

"Our core business remains robust and provides a strong foundation for continued profitability as well as supports our ambitions to grow in the digital space."

In its statement, SingTel said it "will review investment opportunities, including increasing its stakes in the existing associates and investing in large under-penetrated telecoms markets".

In the digital world, the company will earmark up to Sg$2.0 billion in the next three years "to pursue strategic acquisitions to drive growth," it added.

Outside its home market of Singapore, SingTel has a wholly owned subsidiary in Australia called Optus.

It also owns significant stakes in five foreign mobile operators: Bharti Airtel in India, Telkomsel in Indonesia, Advanced Info Service in Thailand, the Philippines' Globe Telecom and Pacific Bangladesh Telecom.

The SingTel group currently has a combined mobile customer base of 468 million.

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