Singtel Q1 profit falls 17% on one-off items

A Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. employee uses his mobile phone while sitting inside one of the company's giant satellite dishes shortly after periodic work to clean it was completed in Singapore on Monday, July 19, 2004. Singapore Telecommun
A Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. employee uses his mobile phone while sitting inside one of the company's giant satellite dishes shortly after periodic work to clean it was completed in Singapore on Monday, July 19, 2004. Singapore Telecommunications, Southeast Asia's largest telecommunications operator, reported a 17 per cent fall in its first-quarter profit, hurt by one-off items and adverse currency movements. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore Telecommunications, Southeast Asia's largest telecommunications operator, reported a 17 per cent fall in its first-quarter profit, hurt by one-off items and adverse currency movements.

SingTel earned $835 million in the three months ended in June, compared with $1.01 billion a year ago. The latest quarter included one-off losses of $46 million, compared with net exceptional gains of $114 million in the year-ago period.

Underlying net profit came in at $881 million, down from $897 million a year ago and below analysts' expectations for $916 million, according to a Reuters poll of four brokerages.

Revenue fell 3.4 per cent to $4.15 billion, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were $1.25 billion, down 3.2 per cent.

SingTel derives the bulk of its profits from overseas, making its earnings particularly susceptible to currency changes.

Earnings contributions from its foreign associates were hurt by steep depreciations of currencies against the Singapore dollar, particularly the Indonesian rupiah which declined 19 per cent, it said.

Its share of profit at Indonesia's PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel) fell 13 per cent from a year earlier to $167 million.

The company is expected to benefit from a turnaround in the Indian market where it effectively owns nearly a third of top mobile phone carrier Bharti Airtel.

SingTel's share of Bharti's profit rose 84 per cent to $92 million, before one-time items.

It also owns more than a fifth of Thai market leader Advanced Info Service (AIS), which has been hurt by political unrest and fierce competition.

AIS's profit contribution fell 15 per cent in the quarter.

SingTel's combined mobile customer base grew 10 per cent to 525 million as of June 30.

The company said it expects its consolidated revenue and EBITDA for the financial year ending March 2015 to be stable.

Shares of the company have risen 6.8 per cent so far this year, compared with a 4.2 per cent increase in the broader market.