SingTel's Q3 profit falls 11 percent, Optus remains strong

Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) Thursday reported that net profit fell 11 percent during its fiscal third quarter.

SingTel's net profit during the third quarter reached S$760 million (AUD$602 million) as of Dec. 31, the last day of the period being reported), down 11 percent from the same period one year ago when the company reported a net profit of S$854 (AUD$676 million). SingTel's operating revenue during the third quarter was S$3.2 billion, up 6.9 percent from the same period one year earlier when the company reported operating revenue of S$3 billion.

SingTel's third quarter net profit was lower in 2004 than 2003 because of higher exceptional gains recorded by the company during the third quarter of 2003, the company said.

Despite the dip in net profit, SingTel remained upbeat about its business. "We are on track to deliver double-digit earnings growth for the whole year," said Lee Hsien Yang, SingTel's president and CEO, in a prepared statement.

SingTel saw revenue growth of 1.6 percent in its home market Singapore for the first time in three years during the third quarter, the company said, attributing this increase to strong demand for data and IT services. However, SingTel saw international telephone revenue in Singapore decline by 11 percent, it said.

SingTel launched 3G (third-generation) services in December, following extensive trials and tests, and feedback from users has been positive, the company said.

Strong results from SingTel's Australian unit, SingTel Optus Pty Ltd., helped boost the company's overall results. SingTel Optus saw its third-quarter net profits rise 34 percent compared to the same period one year ago, due in part to rising demand for its mobile services, SingTel said. Operating revenue was up 7.7 percent, it said.

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