SingTel Q1 results boosted by strong Optus

A strong performance by its recently-acquired Optus unit in Australia has enabled Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) to post revenue and profit growth for its first quarter of fiscal 2002/2003 despite challenging market conditions, SingTel said in a statement Wednesday.

The combined company posted first-quarter revenues of S$2.46 billion (US$1.39 billion), 2.8 percent higher than for the fourth quarter of last year. Compared with the year-ago second quarter, SingTel by itself saw revenue fall 3.7 percent to S$1.2 billion, but Optus revenue rose 11 percent over the year before to A$1.27 billion (US$674 million), according to the statement.

Combined net profit for the first quarter ended June 30 reached S$377 million, more than double the S$182 million for the fourth quarter of last year, although profit remained 37 percent lower than the S$601 million posted by SingTel alone in the year-ago quarter.

Compared with the year-earlier quarter, SingTel saw mobile revenue rise 8.4 percent and data and Internet services revenue rise 1.9 percent. Revenue from international telephony continued to tumble, down 18 percent on the second quarter a year ago.

Optus saw revenue growth of 30 percent in data and IP (Internet Protocol) services, 22 percent in consumer services including dial-up and cable Internet access and 15 percent in mobile services, according to the statement.

Four smaller SingTel associates, Belgacom SA, Globe Telecom Inc., Advanced Info Services PLC and PT. Telekomunikasi Selular also contributed strongly to group profit, SingTel said.

The company now has almost 25 million mobile subscribers in Singapore, Australia, India, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Lee Hsien Yang, SingTel president and chief executive officer, said that market conditions are improving in Singapore and that further recovery should underpin demand for telecommunication services. SingTel is also benefiting from investments made in growth markets such as its regional mobile phone businesses, he said.

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