Higher depreciation and interest expenses sent third-quarter earnings sliding at telco M1.
Net profit dropped 4.8 per cent to $32.7 million for the three months to Sept 30, although operating revenue rose 1 per cent to $251.6 million.
Total service turnover rose 4.9 per cent to $206.7 million, boosted by a 5.5 per cent increase for postpaid services and a 19.9 per cent jump for fixed services.
Net profit for the nine months to Sept 30 fell 13.9 per cent to $101.5 million, while operating revenue rose 2.3 per cent to $763.9 million.
M1 said in a statement yesterday that its fibre customer base grew by 6,000 during the third quarter to hit 182,000.
Following the 2G network shutdown in the second quarter, it conducted a review of the entire mobile customer base, which led to the termination of inactive and dormant customers as well as the migration of some users to the machine-to-machine platform that is not included in the reported customer base. This accounted for a reduction of 14,000 postpaid and 47,000 prepaid customers.
AT A GLANCE
NET PROFIT: $32.7 million (-4.8%)
OPERATING REVENUE: $251.6 million (+1%)
As a result, postpaid customer numbers grew by 5,000 while its prepaid user base fell by 41,000, bringing its total mobile customer base to 2.01 million.
Earnings per share for the quarter sank 4.5 per cent to 3.5 cents, while net asset value per share eased to 42.4 cents from 43.4 cents as at Dec 31 last year.
"With the shift in consumer preferences.... to data-centric services, we are addressing their changing needs through proactive customer service management, network optimisation and upgrades, as well as innovative and competitively priced service propositions," said M1 chief executive Karen Kooi.
"Our recently launched nationwide Narrowband Internet of Things network will further drive adoption of new and innovative IoT applications with massive connectivity. As it is a new technology and the eco-system is evolving, mass adoption will take time," she added.
M1 said it expects a decline in net profit after tax for the full year 2017, based on current outlook and barring unforeseen circumstances.
Its shares closed 0.6 per cent or one cent down at $1.805 yesterday, before the results were announced.
DBS said in a separate report that the stock is "fully valued", noting that M1's dividend yield is now less attractive compared with its rivals', while the success of industry newcomer Circles.Life has added to the sector's woes. The brokerage lowered its 12-month price target for M1 from $1.78 to $1.49.