Singtel has posted a net profit of $891.6 million in the first quarter, down 5.6 per cent from a year earlier, as Airtel's fight for revenue market share leadership in India dragged on.
Staff restructuring, mainly from Optus in Australia, also accounted for an $18 million exceptional net loss, against a net gain of $1 million in the same quarter last year.
Group operating revenue in the three months to June 30 rose 8.3 per cent to $4.23 billion, with global digital and cyber-security businesses contributing more than 9 per cent of revenue.
Underlying net profit slipped 3.5 per cent to $910 million, but would have risen 2.9 per cent if Airtel had been excluded.
Overall, Singtel's regional associates' underlying profit contributions fell 2.5 per cent to $515 million as strong earnings at Telkomsel and contribution from Intouch, which was acquired in November last year, were offset by lower takings at Airtel, AIS and Globe.
Revenue from the Singapore consumer business rose 1.6 per cent to $567 million, helped by strong demand for new smartphones and recontracts, which lifted equipment sales by 32 per cent.
However, Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) for the Singapore consumer business fell 2.9 per cent as cost accrual reversals in the last corresponding quarter offset higher contributions from growth in home services, and content cost management increased.
Revenue for the Australia consumer business rose 6 per cent to $1.72 billion, while Ebitda rose 2.9 per cent as customer growth offset higher content costs.
Revenue from the Group Digital Life segment doubled to $273 million, after Amobee, Singtel's digital marketing arm, acquired ad tech firm Turn in April. The maiden contribution from Turn helped Amobee achieve breakeven in Ebitda for the first time, though the segment reported a negative Ebitda of $24 million overall, as video-streaming service Hooq spent more on content and operating costs to ramp up business.
Last month, Singtel completed the initial public offering of NetLink NBN Trust. Singtel said it will record a net gain of $2 billion from the disposal of NetLink in the next quarter ending Sept 30.
AT A GLANCE
NET PROFIT: $891.6 million (-5.6%)
REVENUE: $4.23 billion (+8.3%)
No dividend was declared this quarter. Earnings per share was 5.46 cents, down from 5.93 cents in the first quarter a year ago.
Net asset value per share was $1.77 as at June 30, up from $1.73 as at March 31. Management maintained its guidance for group revenue to grow by "mid single digit" and Ebitda to grow by low single digit this year.