Regional units, ICT lift Singtel profit in Q4

Better performances from regional associates and growth in mobile data, cloud and cybersecurity services helped Singtel put some gloss on the fourth quarter.

Net profit rose 0.8 per cent to $946 million for the three months to March 31, while revenue fell 5.6 per cent to $4.09 billion. Indonesian telco Telkomsel was the lead performer, with a 32 per cent growth in revenue to $316 million.

Revenue was buffeted by foreign currency movements, which impacted its net profit by 3 per cent, or $27 million, for the quarter.

The telco's Enterprise unit received a fillip from its infocomm and communications technology (ICT) business. It accounted for 45 per cent of Enterprise's total revenue of $1.7 billion, up 5 per cent from the same quarter last year.

Earnings per share was 5.94 cents, up from 5.89 cents a year earlier, while net asset value per share was $1.57 as at March 31, up from $1.55 a year earlier.

Group chief executive Chua Sock Koong told a briefing that mobile data was the telco's bright spot in the quarter. "Our regional markets are now making their respective transitions from mobile telephony to mobile Internet and harnessing the benefits of extensive investments in 3G and 4G networks and services," she noted.

Bright spots in Singtel's Enterprise division include mobile data and cybersecurity. Foreign currency movements against the Singapore dollar ate into the telco's bottom line.
Bright spots in Singtel's Enterprise division include mobile data and cybersecurity. Foreign currency movements against the Singapore dollar ate into the telco's bottom line. PHOTO: REUTERS

  • AT A GLANCE

  • Q4 NET PROFIT: $946 million (0.8%)

    Q4 REVENUE: $4.09 billion (-5.6%)

    FINAL DIVIDEND PER SHARE: 10.7 cents (unchanged)

Revenue for the consumer business fell 2 per cent in the quarter to $2.3 billion due to lower handset sales and international telephony.

The firm's Enterprise business in cybersecurity appears to be another bright spot. Enterprise chief executive Bill Chang said Singtel is among the top five managed security services globally. While he did not disclose revenue for such services, he said the telco was growing faster than the market, which is expanding at 15 per cent annually.

Singtel posted a 2 per cent rise in net profit to $3.87 billion for the full year, while revenue reached $16.96 billion, a drop of 1.5 per cent.

Foreign currency movements against the Singapore dollar impacted net profit by 3 per cent, or $119 million, for the year.

The pre-tax earnings of its regional mobile associates grew 5 per cent to $2.6 billion.

Singtel expects revenue to increase by low single digits this year, with group ICT turnover tipped to rise by low teens and cybersecurity sales forecast at between $450 million and $550 million.

Singtel will pay a final ordinary dividend per share of 10.7 cents, bringing the total payout for the year to 17.5 cents.

The shares closed up five cents, or 1.3 per cent, to $3.89 yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 13, 2016, with the headline 'Regional units, ICT lift Singtel profit in Q4'. Print Edition | Subscribe