Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) has reported a 2 per cent rise in net profit to S$972.8 million in the third quarter.
Ended on December 31, 2016, the quarter saw strong core business and higher contributions from regional mobile associates.
Information and communications technology (ICT) revenues grew in the core business, strengthened by contract wins by National Computer Systems (NCS) and demand for cyber security services. Singtel stated that the growth in postpaid mobile customer numbers in Australia and higher consumer home services revenue in Singapore helped mitigate continued voice to data substitution and roaming revenue declines.
Chua Sock Koong, Singtel Group CEO said, "We have managed to hold good ground against the backdrop of a slowing Singapore economy and more challenging business environment all around. Our ICT business, particularly cyber security, has held us in good stead.”
Operating revenue for the quarter declined 2 per cent to S$4.41 billion for the quarter from a year ago, due to mandated cuts in Australian mobile termination rates, the telco said in its release.
Excluding this rate impact, revenue grew 3 per cent, with net profit rose 4 per cent to S$994 million, Singtel said.
Compared to 5.98 Singapore cents last year, earnings per share came in at 6.03 Singapore cents.
With no new dividend declaration, an interim dividend of 6.8 Singapore cents per share was paid last month for the current financial year ending March 31.
Among the associates, strong performance from Telkomsel offset the impact of strong competition in India, driving associates' pre-tax contributions up 2 per cent year on year to S$660 million, said Singtel.
Exacerbated by demonetization in India, Airtel's pre-tax profits fell 27 per cent, with the combined effects of intensifying competition from a new operator in India, higher spectrum amortisation and financing costs, said Singtel.
Singtel said it has begun preparations for the public listing of its wholly-owned NetLink Trust (NLT) given its undertaking to the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to divest its stake in NLT to less than 25 per cent by April 22, 2018.