M1 net profit down 14.6% in Q1

M1 announced that higher operating expenses dented earnings in the first quarter of 2017.
M1 announced that higher operating expenses dented earnings in the first quarter of 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

Higher operating expenses dented earnings at telco M1 in the first quarter, it announced yesterday.

Net profit fell 14.6 per cent to $36.3 million in the three months to March 31, compared with the same period last year.

Operating revenue rose 1.2 per cent from a year earlier to $260.7 million while operating expenses, by contrast, rose 4.3 per cent to $214.1 million.

Service revenue came in at $201.5 million, down just slightly from $203.4 million a year earlier.

Mobile revenues dipped 3.6 per cent owing to lower roaming turnover.

Fixed-services takings surged 23 per cent, offsetting a 10.7 per cent fall in international call sales, which were dragged down by lower premium IDD usage.


    NET PROFIT: $36.3 million (-14.6%)


    $260.7 million (+1.2%)

Mobile data's contribution to service turnover rose to 55.1 per cent in the last quarter, up from 53.1 per cent in the same period last year.

M1's average revenue per post-paid user was $55.80, down from $58.60 a year ago.

Average post-paid smartphone data usage increased to 3.7GB per month in the first quarter, up from 3.3GB per month a year earlier.

M1 added 24,000 post-paid customers and 3,000 pre-paid customers.

The company said that mobile virtual network operator Circles.Life, which leases capacity from M1, contributed to the increase in post-paid customers, but it did not disclose the size of the contribution.

First-quarter earnings per share was 3.9 cents, down 14.2 per cent from 4.5 cents a year earlier.

Net asset value per share was 47.2 cents as at March 31, up from 43.4 cents on Dec 31.

M1 is also due to pay $208 million for three spectrum lots.

It is likely to pay $20 million for the 900MHz spectrum lot this year, while the $188 million payment for two 700MHz spectrum parcels will be made six months before their availability, which has not yet been fixed.

Chief executive Karen Kooi said in a statement: "The new spectrum will enable us to deliver an enhanced network experience cost-effectively with optimal use of spectrum."

M1 said it is "too early to estimate full-year performance due to uncertain market conditions", but has guided capital expenditure to be around $150 million this year. Earlier in January, it had said capital expenditure would be around $170 million.

The company said it will maintain its 80 per cent dividend payout ratio.

The results were posted after trading hours. The counter closed one cent higher at $2.14 yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2017, with the headline 'M1 net profit down 14.6% in Q1'. Print Edition | Subscribe