Optus contributes to strong SingTel revenue

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) has posted a net profit excluding special items of S$2.85 billion (AUD$2.34 billion as of March 31, the last day of the period being reported) for the year ended March 31, 2004, 32 percent higher than the S$2.17 billion (AUD$1.74 billion) profit recorded the previous year.

Including a one-time pre-tax gain of S$2.03 billion resulting from its sale of shares in Belgacom SA, SingTel's announced net profit was S$4.49 billion.

The profit rise was achieved on revenue of S$12 billion, 16.9 percent up on the previous year's figure of S$10.26 billion, the company said in a statement Thursday.

SingTel's overseas businesses, led by its Australian unit SingTel Optus Pty. Ltd., now dominate its financial figures. Proportionate revenues from outside Singapore accounted for 75 percent of SingTel's 2004 revenue compared to 65 percent last year. Around 66 percent of proportionate pre-tax profit was generated overseas compared to 51 percent last year.

From Australia, Optus contributed a net profit of AUD$440 million as of March 31), up from AUD$28 million last year.

SingTel has become the region's largest mobile operator outside Japan and China in terms of subscriber base. The number of mobile customers subscribed to SingTel, Optus and associated companies in the region increased 37 percent during the year to 47.3 million, of which Thailand's Advanced Info Services PLC has 13.9 million subscribers, PT Telekomunikasi Selular of Indonesia 10.7 million, Globe Telecom Inc. of the Philippines 9.1 million and India's Bharti Group 6.5 million.

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