Singtel Q1 profit drops 5.6%, dragged down by Airtel

Singtel Comcentre at Somerset.
Singtel Comcentre at Somerset.PHOTO: ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Singtel reported on Friday (Aug 11) a 5.6 per cent drop in first-quarter net profit to S$892 million as a result of lower associates' contributions and exceptional charges from workforce restructuring at Optus.

Excluding Airtel, which Singtel said is facing intense price competition in India, underlying net profit would have increased 3 per cent to S$874 million.

Group revenue for the three months to end June rose 8.3 per cent to S$4.23 billion, with global digital and cyber security businesses contributing more than 9 per cent of revenue.

Exceptional items, after-tax, amounted to a loss of S$18 million for the quarter compared to a gain of S$1 million previously.

The Australian consumer business grew on the back of higher uptake in mobile and fixed broadband services. Among the regional associates, Telkomsel increased its pre-tax profit contribution by 18 per cent due to robust growth in data and digital services.

No dividend was recommended for the quarter, the same as a year ago.

Said Ms Chua Sock Koong, Singtel group CEO: "The growth potential of our regional associates' markets remains strong despite the headwinds, and strategic investments in networks and customer experience will lay the foundation for future growth. The group's customer base grew another 3 per cent in the quarter to 655 million customers across the region."

In July, NetLink NBN Trust was successfully listed, raising proceeds of S$2.3 billion. Singtel said a net gain of approximately S$2 billion from this divestment will be recorded in the second quarter.