SINGAPORE: Southeast Asian telecommunications giant Singapore Telecom (Singtel) said on Thursday its second quarter net profit fell slightly from last year, dragged down by currency weakness in some countries where its associates operate.
Mobile data grew strongly across the Singtel group’s regional operations but these were offset by “significant currency headwinds,” the company said in a filing with the Singapore Exchange.
Net profit in the three months to September came in at Sg$1.03 billion ($727 million), down 0.8 percent from the same period last year.
Revenue fell 2.9 percent to Sg$4.18 billion, said Singtel, Southeast Asia’s biggest telecom operator.
“This quarter, we have again strengthened our position across Singapore, Australia and the associates’ markets,” Singtel Group chief executive Chua Sock Koong.
“Mobile data growth continues to be a key focus . . . While currency weakness has affected our reported numbers, our underlying performance is resilient,” she said in a statement.
A large portion of Singtel’s earnings come from overseas after the company expanded beyond its small domestic market, making it vulnerable to currency movements. The firm’s earnings are reported in Singapore dollars.
In Australia where Singtel has a wholly owned subsidiary called Optus, the Australian dollar fell a steep 13 percent against the Singapore dollar during the quarter.
Singtel’s share of earnings from its Indonesian associate Telkomsel surged 21 percent “on the back of robust growth across voice, data and digital businesses,” the company said, but gains were capped by a 6.0 percent decline in the rupiah during the quarter.
The company also owns substantial stakes in key telecom operators in India, the Philippines and Thailand.
Singtel said its overall share of pre-tax profits from its regional associates was up 0.5 percent to Sg$632 million.
“Across the region, all of the group’s mobile associates saw sustained adoption of data services and customer growth,” it said.
For the financial year ending in March 2016, Singtel said it expects revenue from mobile communications to rise by a “low single digit level” from its earlier expectation for a “mid-single digit level” growth as customers shift from voice roaming to data roaming services.