Singtel bounded back from a fiscal H1 2019/2020 loss with a profit in its recent six month period (to end-September), but revenue fell as Covid-19 (coronavirus) restrictions hit its two main markets Australia and Singapore.
Net profit rose to SGD466 million ($345.2 million) from a net loss of SGD217 million in the comparable period of the previous fiscal year caused by an exceptional loss of SGD1.44 billion booked as provision for Bharti Airtel adjusted gross revenue charges.
Operating revenue dropped 10 per cent year-on-year to SGD7.43 billion.
In a statement, Singtel group CEO Chua Sock Koong said the impact of the pandemic was felt across the group with significant reductions in roaming and prepaid revenue and weaker customer spend.
“While the challenging operating environment is expected to continue as uncertainties from the pandemic persist, we are seeing encouraging signs of modest recovery across our businesses, as lockdown measures ease and customer spending returns.”
Pre-tax profits of its regional associates rose 11 per cent to SGD833 million, mainly due to an improvement in Bharti Airtel’s performance.
Continued economic uncertainty means the company is not providing full-year guidance except for capex, which will be about SGD2.2 billion, comprising AUD1.5 billion ($1.1 billion) for Optus and SGD700 million for the rest of the group.
Mobile services revenue fell 22.9 per cent to SGD380 and sales of equipment declined 29.7 per cent. The company noted prepaid usage dropped as customers spent more time indoors and relied on Wi-Fi, and the number of overseas workers and tourists fell due to travel restrictions.
Prepaid subscribers dropped 8.4 per cent to 1.48 million and post-paid rose 4 per cent to 2.75 million. Blended ARPU was down 0.7 per cent to SGD23.
Total mobile service revenue at Optus decreased 3 per cent to AUD1.67 billion and equipment sales slid 25.3 per cent to AUD661 million.
Customer growth, roaming and prepaid revenue were all impacted by lockdown measures and travel restrictions, the operator said.
Its post-paid subscriber base was stable at 5.77 million; prepaid fell 9.2 per cent to 3.04 million. Blended ARPU slipped 2.4 per cent to AUD29.
Revenue from its Digital Life unit was hit by lower advertising spend and TV revenue following the licencing of its technology platform to ITV in July 2019. Revenue fell 28 per cent to SGD447 million.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back