M1's Q2 net profit up 11.2% with more subscribers

SINGAPORE - Telco M1 grew both its second-quarter revenue and net profit, backed by growth in subscribers and the uptake in the use of mobile data in smartphones.

For the three months which ended June 30, M1 posted an 11.2 per cent rise in net profit to $39.2 million, compared with the same period last year.

Year on year, its Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) also rose, by 6.1 per cent to $76.8 million, on the strength of a 5 per cent rise in quarterly revenue to $244.5 million.

Service revenue - which excludes handset sales - stood at $207.3 million for the quarter, up from $190.4 million a year ago.

During the three months, the telco added 55,000 mobile customers, bringing its total subscriber base to 2.1 million.

Of these, 307,000 were on its fourth-generation (4G) mobile data plans, all of which are bundled with tiered mobile data charges. This shift from the previous generous 12GB data bundles to the tiered plans, which start from as low as 2GB, boosted its numbers.

On average, its customers downloaded 2.3GB of data on their mobile devices every month during the quarter.

M1 said 26 per cent or 288,000 of its current 1.11 million post-paid mobile customers are on such tiered plans, with 11 per cent of them paying extra to upgrade to a higher-tier data plan.

The boost in its mobile data business raised average revenue per user (Arpu) from $61.10 in the first quarter of this year to $62.30 in the second quarter. But its second-quarter post-paid Arpu dipped 1.6 per cent year on year as the growth was offset by lower international roaming revenue.

M1 also added 7,000 fibre broadband customers for the quarter, bringing its base to 67,000 as at June 30, almost double from 37,000 customers a year ago.

"We are very well-placed. We don't have legacy networks to worry about," said M1 chief executive officer Karen Kooi on Tuesday, referring to the older ADSL and cable broadband networks of its rivals SingTel and StarHub.

"Every new (fibre broadband) customer is a net add to our top and bottom lines."

For the half year, M1 has declared an interim dividend of 6.8 cents per share, compared with 6.6 cents for the same period last year. Earnings per share for the group stood at 4.3 cents for the quarter, compared with 3.9 cents in the previous corresponding period. Net asset value per share was 40.6 cents as at June 30, up from 38.1 cent as at Dec 31.

M1's counter closed one cent lower at $3.14 before the release of its second-quarter earnings result on Tuesday.