Singtel posts 5.6 per cent drop in Q2 net profit to $972m

Singtel said yesterday that its net profit for the fiscal second quarter ended Sept 30 fell 5.6 per cent to $972 million without the exceptional gains recorded by Airtel last year.

Operating revenue dropped 2 per cent from a year ago to around $4.1 billion, but would have been up 2.3 per cent at $4.3 billion if the impact of mandated cuts to mobile termination rates in Australia were excluded.

The group's underlying net profit for the quarter was stable, and up 3.4 per cent at $1.9 billion at half-time.

The telco saw a strong performance from its regional mobile associates, notably Telkomsel and Airtel.

Combined mobile customer base reached 629 million by end-September, up 16 million, or 2.6 per cent, from a quarter ago.

Telkomsel's pre-tax profit jumped 22 per cent as it benefited from network investments and growth across voice, data and digital businesses.

Airtel's pre-tax profits grew 13 per cent on strong execution and lower fair value losses from Airtel Africa.

In Thailand, AIS continued to accelerate the rollout of its 4G network, reaching 65 per cent of the population at end- September.

In the Philippines, Globe is investing another US$300 million (S$420 million) in network expansion.

In Australia, operating revenue declined 11 per cent reflecting the decline in mobile termination rates and higher mobile service credits from device repayment plans partly offset by higher equipment sales.

Singapore continued its growth trajectory, driven by demand in mobile data and ICT services, particularly cyber security.

Operating revenue in Singapore decreased by 3.4 per cent, with declines in voice, including mobile voice roaming, and equipment sales amid a more subdued economic environment.

The board approved an interim dividend of 6.8 cents per share.

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