Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) increased revenue by 20.3 per cent and lifted profit substantially despite a marked weakness in its operations in its home country.
The group now earns almost 65 per cent of its revenue and much of its profit offshore.
Group revenue for the first quarter ended June 30, 2003, reached $US1.68 billion. Revenue generated in Singapore fell 5.8 per cent to $US596 million while overseas revenue rose 42 per cent over the year-earlier quarter to $US1.08 billion. Net profit, excluding a one-time sale of its postal arm SingPost, rose 46 per cent to $US373 million.
The weak state of Singapore's economy and competitive price pressure saw revenue fall in all major sectors including mobile communications, data and Internet, SingTel said in the statement.
By contrast, the group's Australian subsidiary SingTel Optus increased revenue 17 per cent to $1.5 billion and posted a profit of $100 million. Pretax profit from SingTel's other associated companies rose 80 per cent over last year to $US165 million, with the largest contribution coming from its recently-acquired interest in Indonesian mobile operator PT Telekomunikasi Selular.
Three other associated Asian companies offering mobile services - Thailand's Advanced Info Service, Globe Telecom of the Philippines, and the mobile arm of India's Bharti Group - were all profitable.
SingTel's aggregate mobile subscriber base was now 37 million, 15 per cent up on the 32.1 million recorded six months ago, the company said.