SingTel steady as Optus prospers

Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), the largest regional telecommunications operator in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) posted revenue of S$3.02 billion (AUD$2.5 billion) for its first quarter ended June 30, 2004, 11.5 percent higher than the equivalent figure last year, the company said in a statement Thursday.

The company's underlying net profit rose 15.7 percent to S$696 million, SingTel said.

SingTel's overseas investments now account for around 70 percent of revenue and 60 percent of pre-tax profit, and so a 2.7 percent revenue decline to S$1.001 billion in SingTel's home market had little effect on the figures.

Its largest overseas subsidiary SingTel Optus Pty. Ltd. increased operating revenue by 12 percent to AUD$1.7 billion and increased net profit 51 percent to AUD$151 million.

The importance of SingTel's overseas ventures, particularly Optus, is shown by the fact that Optus's mobile revenue for the quarter of S$982 million was almost as large as SingTel's total home country revenue of S$1.001 billion.

With other Asian associates such as Bharti Group, Indonesia's PT Telekomunikasi Selular, Thailand's Advanced Info Services and Globe Telecom of the Philippines, SingTel has amassed a regional mobile subscriber base of 52 million, 40 percent up on the 37 million figure at the same time last year. Bharti and Telkomsel were responsible for 9 million of the increase, according to the statement.

SingTel consolidated its focus on the Asia-Pacific region with the disposal in March of its stake in Belgian operator Belgacom.