SingTel has reported strong third quarter earnings despite adverse movements in the Australian dollar, helped out by the Optus' profit boost.
The group reported a six per cent increase in net profit to S$872 million – in constant currency terms, net profit would have increased 13 per cent.
According to a company statement, the Singapore consumer business delivered solid growth in mobile and Mio TV services while the Australian consumer operations registered margin and profit improvements, reflecting an improved cost structure.
Regional mobile associate, Airtel, also posted buoyant earnings growth.
Optus issued its first Australian dollar bond of A$300 million under its Australian dollar medium term note program during the period.
The Australian consumer business delivered EBITDA growth of eight per cent and continued to retool its business to improve profitability and support a sustainable mobile data business.
Revenue declined 7 per cent to A$1.78 billion due to lower equipment sales, mandated reductions in termination rates and service credits associated with device repayment plans.
“My Plan” is gaining traction and encouraging customers to use more mobile data, according to a company statement.
Group enterprise revenue was stable at S$1.55 billion amid a cautious business environment for Asia Pacific, while the order book for managed services and business solutions remained strong at S$2.2 billion.
Group Digital Life revenue rose 40 per cent to $48 million, while Amobee had an 86 per cent increase in mobile advertising revenue.
SingTel chief executive, Chua Sock Koong, said she was pleased with results from the strengthening of core business.
“Going forward, we will focus on driving customer growth in Australia,” she said.
"The Singapore consumer business is driving growth with targeted home and mobile strategies.
“Revenue per household and the number of customers on triple bundles continued to increase.
“Mobile customers in Australia are upgrading their data plans and enjoying a faster data network.”
As of December, the combined mobile customer base grew nine per cent, or 40.9 million in the year, to cross the half billion mark.
Pre-tax earnings for regional mobile associates increased 11 per cent of S$506 million.
Chua said Airtel executed well and delivered strong earnings growth during the quarter.
“As our associates aggressively roll out 3G, we are collaborating with them to accelerate network investments and market mobile data services,” she said.
“We are excited about the growth potential for data services and mobile internet access across these three countries.
“Group Digital Life is also partnering the associates to create distinctive and differentiated services for their local markets.”
Chua said she had updated the company’s revenue guidance for group consumer and group enterprise as a result of the weaker Australian dollar and the more cautious business environment and spending.
“Our strategy to deliver long-term growth by enhancing the efficiencies of the core business and creating new growth platforms in the digital space is tracking well.”
Revenue for group consumer is now expected to decline by low double digits and group enterprise by low single-digits.
Cash capital expenditure is projected to be about S$2.2 billion, due to the currency translation effect and delayed spending.