Higher costs, weaker earnings hit StarHub

With its cable-to-fibre migration still under way, StarHub has recorded higher churn in the pay-TV segment. It also recorded falls in pay-TV and broadband average revenue per user on the back of promotions to keep its cable customers.
With its cable-to-fibre migration still under way, StarHub has recorded higher churn in the pay-TV segment. It also recorded falls in pay-TV and broadband average revenue per user on the back of promotions to keep its cable customers.ST FILE PHOTO

Q2 profit down 36.1%; turnover lower in core service segments

Telco StarHub saw earnings fall again by double digits in the second quarter on weaker operating profits and higher finance costs, in results released yesterday.

Net profit was down by 36.1 per cent to $39.5 million for the three months to June 30, compared with the same period last year.

Revenue slid by 7.4 per cent to $552.8 million on lower turnover in all three core service segments of mobile, pay-TV and broadband.

Otherwise, the enterprise business posted a 14.6 per cent rise in turnover on contributions from cyber security services, which more than made up for a slip in network solutions income.

But cyber security - a fledgling business that StarHub's management has previously told shareholders runs up high operating expenses - turned an operating loss of $900,000 in the period, against a profit of $4.1 million a year earlier.

With its cable-to-fibre migration still under way, the group has recorded higher churn in the pay-TV segment. It also recorded falls in pay-TV and broadband average revenue per user on the back of promotions to keep its cable customers.

Earnings per share stood at 2.2 cents, down from 3.5 cents previously. Net profit for the half year was down 25 per cent to $93.5 million on a 0.9 per cent decrease in revenue to $1.15 billion.

Chief executive Peter Kaliaropoulos said: "We continue to transform our operations and ensure cost-optimisation initiatives fund the growth of new digital services, including our Giga mobile brand and our cyber security initiatives."

  • AT A GLANCE

  • REVENUE: $552.8 million (-7.4%)

    NET PROFIT: $39.5 million (-36.1%)

    DIVIDEND PER SHARE: 2.25 cents

Mr Kaliaropoulos joined StarHub in July last year and moved swiftly to cut costs in areas such as procurement, network and systems repair and maintenance, and sales and distribution - although it was the decimation of staff headcount that made the headlines.

Net debt came in at $930.2 million as of June 30, up from $862.4 million as of Dec 31, while capital expenditure for the six months was $46.5 million, not counting payments for 4G spectrum.

The firm faces $443.8 million in outstanding capex commitments.

StarHub, which had said in February that it would cut dividends to fund its investments, will pay 2.25 cents a share for the quarter, down from four cents before.

The counter closed down 1.33 per cent to $1.48 before the results were released yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2019, with the headline 'Higher costs, weaker earnings hit StarHub'. Print Edition | Subscribe