Singtel Q4 profit up 1.8%, 10.7 cents per share final dividend proposed

People look at mobile handsets at a Singtel retailer shop.
People look at mobile handsets at a Singtel retailer shop.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore Telecommunications reported a 1.8 per cent rise in fourth-quarter net to S$963.3 million as continued growth in broadband, mobile data and ICT, along with Indonesian associate Telkomsel's strong performance, mitigated weaker results from Airtel in India.

Full-year net profit dipped 0.5 per cent to S$3.85 billion from S$3.87 billion a year ago.

A final dividend payout of 10.7 Singapore cents per share was proposed, bringing total dividends for the year to 17.5 cents per share, in line with last year's payout.

Operating revenue for the fourth quarter rose 5.2 per cent to to S$4.3 billion, led by growth in broadband services in Australia and Enterprise ICT services in Singapore. In constant currency terms, it would have been up 2 per cent.

Ms Chua Sock Koong, Singtel Group CEO said the telco turned in a strong set of results this quarter despite a challenging business environment.

In the emerging markets, mobile data remained the key growth driver for the regional associates, said Singtel. Telkomsel's pre-tax profit contribution rose 17 per cent on growth across voice, data and digital services. However, despite better performance in Africa, Airtel's pretax profit contribution dropped 51 per cent with its earnings adversely impacted by the entry of a new operator in India which offered free voice and data.

In Australia and Singapore, Singtel said strong consumer mobile data and broadband growth offset the decline in voice and roaming services. Both group consumer revenue and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) rose 7 per cent.

Giving guidance for its current fiscal year ending March 31, 2018, Singtel said it expects its core group consumer and enterprise businesses to report low single-digit growth in operating revenue and Ebitda.

Mobile service revenue from Australia is also projected to grow by a low single digit, but mobile communications revenue from Singapore is expected to decline by a low single digit.

Group ICT revenue (comprising managed services and business solutions) is projected to increase by a mid-single digit. This includes cyber security revenue of S$550 million to S$650 million.

Amobee Group is expected to contribute S$1.2 billion to S$1.3 billion in operating revenue and targets breakeven in Ebitda, said Singtel, while negative EBITDA from Group Digital Life is expected to reduce to approximately S$100 million.