SingTel Q4 profit misses expectations, hit by currency losses

Singapore Telecommunications' fourth-quarter net profit climbed 4 per cent from a year earlier but came in shy of analysts' expectations, hurt by unfavourable exchange rates and a lacklustre performance from its group enterprise business. -- FILE PHO
Singapore Telecommunications' fourth-quarter net profit climbed 4 per cent from a year earlier but came in shy of analysts' expectations, hurt by unfavourable exchange rates and a lacklustre performance from its group enterprise business. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - Singapore Telecommunications' fourth-quarter net profit climbed 4 per cent from a year earlier but came in shy of analysts' expectations, hurt by unfavourable exchange rates and a lacklustre performance from its group enterprise business.

South-east Asia's largest telecommunications operator said net profit was $898 million in the January-March quarter, missing an average forecast of $968 million from five analysts polled by Reuters.

It was a modest climb from a weak result in the same period a year earlier, when the company was hit by a one-time loss from the sale of its stake in a Pakistan's Warid.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were $1.3 billion, down 9.2 per cent from a year earlier.

Earnings at its overseas businesses were hit by slide in the value of the Australian dollar, Indonesian rupiah and Indian rupee against the Singapore dollar. Its net profit would have risen 13 per cent in constant currency terms. "Our performance held up strongly against industry challenges and currency volatility," Chief Executive Chua Sock Koong said in a statement.

EBITDA at its group enterprise business, which covers areas like IT services and cloud computing, fell 12 per cent to $490 million.

The company said it expects earnings to be stable in the next financial year, with capital expenditure estimated at around $2.3 billion.