Singtel Q4 profit up 0.8%, weighed by forex movements; dividend of 10.7 cents per share

A woman using a mobile phone walks behind a Singtel signage at their head office in Singapore.
A woman using a mobile phone walks behind a Singtel signage at their head office in Singapore. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore Telecommunications said its net profit edged up 0.8 per cent to S$946 million in the fourth quarter ended March 31 from $$938.8 million a year ago.

South-east Asia's biggest teleco said earnings would have risen 4 per cent in constant currency terms on increasing mobile data usage by its customers, if not for foreign currency movements against the Singapore dollar, which affected net profit by 3 per cent or S$27 million for the quarter.

Earnings were also dampened by Trustwave, a US cybersecurity business acquired by Singtel last year. Excluding Trustwave, the group's net profit for the quarter would have risen 2 per cent in reported terms and 5 per cent if currency movements were factored out.

 

Operating revenue for the quarter fell 6 per cent due to reduced mobile termination rates in Australia and lower handset sales in Singapore. Excluding the forex impact, it would have dipped 3 per cent.

Net profit for the year rose 2 per cent to S$3.87 billion. Stripping out currency movements, full-year net profit was up 6 per cent. Singtel said forex movements against the Singdollar impacted net profit by 3 per cent or S$119 million for the year.

Said Ms Chua Sock Koong, Singtel group CEO said: "Mobile data was the bright spot. Our regional markets are now making their respective transitions from mobile telephony to mobile internet and harnessing the benefits of extensive investments in 3G and 4G networks and services.

"We worked with our regional associates to navigate this shift from voice to data. In Singapore and Australia, our businesses were the first to launch innovative data add-on plans and zero-rated music services to meet customers' increasing demands for OTT content services and data allowances, driving further data monetisation."

Regional mobile associates' pre-tax contribution for the quarter increased 12 per cent and 16 per cent in reported and constant currency terms respectively.

The board is recommending a final ordinary dividend per share of 10.7 cents, bringing the total ordinary dividend per share for the year to 17.5 cents, representing a total payout of approximately S$2.79 billion.