StarHub reports 33% fall in Q4 net profit

StarHub added 14,000 post-paid mobile customers in the fourth quarter, bringing its base to 1.387 million.
StarHub added 14,000 post-paid mobile customers in the fourth quarter, bringing its base to 1.387 million.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Telco plans lower quarterly dividend for 2017 financial year

Less revenue from voice, IDD and roaming services hurt StarHub in the fourth quarter, even with a larger customer base.

Net profit fell 33.2 per cent to $54 million for the three months to Dec 31, while revenue was $634.8 million, inching up just 0.2 per cent from a year earlier.

Adding to the dampened mood, the firm said it plans to pay a quarterly cash dividend of four cents per share for the 2017 financial year, down one cent on the five cents for each quarter last year .

The telco's fourth-quarter operating expenses rose 2.7 per cent to $570.7 million.

Mobile revenue - accounting for half of total revenue - slid 0.4 per cent to $311.8 million in the quarter as there were fewer voice, IDD and roaming services users. This was partly mitigated by higher subscription revenue from a larger customer base, it noted.

  • AT A GLANCE

  • Q4 REVENUE: $634.8 million (+0.2%)

    Q4 NET PROFIT: $54 million (-33.2%)

    FINAL DIVIDEND: 5 cents a share (unchanged)

StarHub added 14,000 post-paid mobile customers in the quarter, bringing its base to 1.387 million.

Of its post-paid customers, 67.5 per cent were on tiered data plans, up 2.9 per cent a year earlier. Of those, 25.2 per cent busted their data caps, 3.2 per cent more than a year ago. Average revenue per post-paid user was $70, $2 lower than in the fourth quarter last year.

Fourth-quarter pay-TV service revenue dipped 6.1 per cent to $93.9 million, owing to lower subscription revenue after a net churn of 9,000 subscribers, which left a base of 498,000 subscribers.

It has to contend with streaming services and Internet platforms such as Netflix, which came to Singapore in January 2016, and Amazon Prime Video, for instance.

Chief executive Tan Tong Hai noted that despite increased competition, the firm has registered growth in key areas.

Fourth-quarter broadband services turnover increased 3.9 per cent to $54.2 million.

Quarterly earnings per share was 3.1 cents, from 4.7 cents a year earlier, while net asset value per share stood at 11.3 cents as at Dec 31, from 10.8 cents as at Dec 31, 2015.

Full-year earnings dropped 8.3 per cent to $341.4 million while turnover dipped 1.9 per cent to $2.4 billion.

StarHub expects growth from post-paid subscription and data revenues, on the back of a 2G network shutdown in the first six months of 2017. It also expects pricing pressures to remain in the broadband space.

The firm has proposed a final dividend of five cents, unchanged from last year.

StarHub shares closed flat at $3 yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2017, with the headline 'StarHub reports 33% fall in Q4 net profit'. Print Edition | Subscribe