Overseas ventures boost SingTel figures

Strong performances by its overseas ventures enabled Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) to lift revenue by 9.5 percent and net profit by 2 percent in its latest financial quarter, the company said in a statement last Friday.

Overall revenue for the quarter ended Dec 31, 2002 reached S$2.61 billion (US$1.49 billion), 9.5 percent higher than the S$2.38 billion for the same quarter the previous year. Net profit rose to S$296 million from S$290 million over the same period.

SingTel's Australian telecommunication subsidiary Optus posted a A$22 million (US$13 million) profit for the quarter compared to a loss of A$39 million for the same quarter last year. Revenue rose by 16 percent over the previous year, SingTel said.

Singapore's recently-acquired stake in Indonesian mobile operator PT Telekomunikasi Selular brought in S$85 million of pre-tax profit. Profit contributed by Thailand's Advanced Info Service PLC rose 64 percent to S$49 million and profit contributed by Belgacom SA of Belgium rose 15 percent to S$58 million, according to the statement.

SingTel now has mobile phone operations in six countries in the region -- Singapore, Thailand, India, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia -- with an aggregate mobile subscriber base of 32.1 million, 64 percent up on the previous year's figure.

Combined pre-tax contributions from its overseas ventures were three times as high in the most recent quarter than in the year-earlier period, SingTel said.

In its home market, by contrast, SingTel's revenue fell by 3.3 percent, with only broadband Internet and mobile data services such as SMS showing appreciable growth, according to SingTel.

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