StarHub profit up 26% in Q1

StarHub posted a net profit of S$92.8 million in the first quarter, up 25.9 per cent from a year ago.
StarHub posted a net profit of S$92.8 million in the first quarter, up 25.9 per cent from a year ago. PHOTO: STARHUB

SINGAPORE - Lower cost of equipment sold offset a dip in revenues to help StarHub post a first quarter net profit of S$92.8 million, up 25.9 per cent from a year ago.

Revenue in the three months ended March 31 fell 4.4 per cent to S$590.9 million, due mainly to lower revenue from equipment sold.

Total service revenue, which excludes equipment sales, was S$542.3 million, up 0.4 per cent from the first quarter last year. This was lower than StarHub's guidance for full year's service revenue to grow in the low single digit range, but the telco's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), or core profit, also rose 13 per cent to S$183 million in the first quarter.

Group operating expenses fell 9.1 per cent from a year ago to S$485.9 million, due mainly to lower cost of equipment sold.

Mobile revenue fell 2 per cent to S$298 million in the quarter as both post-paid and pre-paid revenue fell in the quarter.

StarHub added 18,200 post-paid mobile customers in the quarter, bringing its subscriber base to 1.34 million.

About 65.4 per cent of its post-paid customers were on tiered data plans, up from 62 per cent a year earlier. About 22 per cent of these users busted their data caps.

Average revenue per post-paid user was S$69, S$1 higher from the first quarter last year.

First quarter Pay TV service revenue fell 1.2 per cent to S$94.9 million as the subscriber base fell.

Broadband service revenue grew 11.3 per cent from a year ago to SS$53.5 million, on higher take-up of higher speed plans.

Enterprise fixed service revenue grew 5.4 per cent to S$95.8 million, on higher data and internet services revenue.

First quarter earnings per share was 5.4 cents, from 4.3 cents a year earlier. Net asset value per share was 16.3 cents as at March 31, up from 10.8 cents as at Dec 31.

A five cent dividend per share for the first quarter will be paid on May 27.

Chief executive Tan Tong Hai said: "In the quarter, our attractive Hubbing packages helped maintain low churn rates across all our lines of business. We are especially pleased to see continued growth in our Broadband revenue for the fifth sequential quarter.

"We also witnessed a steady increase in the Enterprise Fixed revenue, and are on track to grow this business to be the second largest contributor to our growth."

Earnings were posted after market close. The counter closed unchanged at S$3.30.

marilee@sph.com.sg