Singtel CEO Yuen Kuan Moon revealed plans for a strategic reset to drive recovery and growth, as a massive one-time exceptional charge weighed on its bottom-line in its fiscal H2 2021 (the six months to 31 March).

Yuen used Singtel’s earnings statement to explain it will continue to invest for medium- to long-term growth based on its core competencies, and aim to capitalise on mass digitalisation.

It will also maintain a strong balance sheet through a more active capital management programme, he explained, adding fiscal H2 figures are disappointing given unprecedented headwinds from Covid-19 (coronavirus) and ongoing structural challenges.

Net profit dropped 93 per cent year-on-year to SGD88 million ($66.5 million) due to a SGD925 million impairment charge on its investments in digital marketing platform Amobee and cybersecurity company Trustwave.

Revenue fell 1 per cent to SGD8.2 billion as a double-digit decline in Singapore offset gains in Australia and its regional associates.

It aims to increase capex from SGD2.2 billion to SGD2.4 billion in fiscal 2022, with AUD1.5 billion ($1.2 billion) earmarked for Australian business Optus.

Post-tax profit contributions from its four associates fell 5.1 per cent on declines from Telkomsel in Indonesia and Globe Telecom in the Philippines, partly offset by improved operational performance from its India unit Bharti Airtel.

Yuen said it is encouraged by Airtel’s strong performances in India and Africa, although a resurgence of the pandemic continues to cast a shadow.

Singapore and Australia
Mobile service revenue dropped 19 per cent to SGD374 million and equipment rose 5.6 per cent to SGD274 million. Blended ARPU fell 18.5 per cent to SGD23, with post-paid dropping 22.7 per cent and prepaid 10.1 per cent.

Mobile subscribers declined 3.6 per cent to 4.13 million. Monthly data usage increased 1GB to 7GB.

Optus service revenue was 1.4 per cent up at AUD1.76 billion, fuelled by post-paid gains. Blended ARPU grew 6.2 per cent to AUD31. Subscribers fell by almost 500,000 leaving it with 9.9 million. Average monthly data usage rose 15.1 per cent to 11GB.