SingTel’s profit and revenue fell last quarter as the strong local currency reduced income from its affiliates in Australia, India and Indonesia.
Its net profit declined 17 per cent to SGD835 million ($668 million) in fiscal Q1 ending 30 June. Group revenue dropped 3.4 per cent to SGD4.15 billion while EBITDA decreased 3.2 per cent to SGD1.25 billion.
The company said in a statement that without the currency changes its “underlying net profit” – which excludes exceptional items — would have increased 4.9 per cent.
Southeast Asia’s largest mobile operator earns the majority of its profits from its overseas affiliates so it’s extremely sensitive to currency fluctuations. During the quarter, the Indonesian rupiah dropped 19 per cent against the Singapore dollar, the Indian rupee declined 7.2 per cent, the Thai baht slid 8.4 per cent, and the Philippine peso and the Australian dollar both fell 5.4 per cent.
Earnings from its operations in emerging markets rose 8 per cent (without the current impact, the company said it would have increased 20 per cent). The pre-tax earnings contribution from Airtel in India increased 68 per cent while the group’s share from Globe Telecom in the Philippines grew 20 per cent. On the downside, the contribution from Indonesia’s Telkomsel fell 13 per cent to SGD167 million from a year earlier and the profit from Thailand’s AIS dropped 15 per cent.
Mobile revenue in Singapore was up 2 per cent during the period while consumer EBITDA at 100 per cent-owned Optus in Australia rose 5 per cent due to lower spending on handset subsidies.