Business

Singtel's net profit up 1.8% to $963.3m


Singtel's fourth-quarter net profit rose 1.8 per cent to $963.3 million, thanks to stronger growth in the Singapore and Australia consumer businesses, and Telkomsel in Indonesia.

The bottom line could have been even stronger but for poorer takings from Airtel India.

Operating revenue in the three months ended March 31 was $4.3 billion, a rise of 5.2 per cent from a year earlier, led by broadband services growth in Australia and enterprise ICT (information and communications technology) services.

Singtel said that excluding Airtel's drag on earnings, underlying net profit would have risen 7 per cent. A price war in India dragged Airtel's pre-tax profits down 51 per cent year-on-year to $90m.

Overall, Singtel's pre-tax profits from regional associates fell 6 per cent to $658m, owing mainly to Airtel's weaker earnings.

However, Singtel group chief executive Chua Sock Koong told a media briefing yesterday: "(Indian rival Reliance) Jio has started charging from April, so Airtel will be in a position to take on competition in a more regular fashion."

Ms Chua added that Singtel's Singapore consumer business had outperformed the market, with revenue growing 1 per cent to $589m, in line with growth in mobile data, broadband, TV and equipment sales.

Fourth-quarter earnings per share was 5.9 cents, down from 5.94 cents a year ago. For the full year, earnings per share was 23.96 cents, down from 24.29 cents a year ago.

Net asset value per share was $1.73 as at March 31, up from $1.57 a year earlier.

Singtel has proposed a final one-tier exempt ordinary dividend of 10.7 cents per share, payable in August.

Together with the interim dividend of 6.8 cents paid in January, total ordinary dividends was unchanged from the year before.

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