Singtel Reports Profit Surge After Divestment of NetLink Trust

By Gaurav Raghuvanshi Features Dow Jones Newswires

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (Z74.SG) reported Thursday a sharp jump in its fiscal second-quarter net profit, mainly due to the divestment of its broadband unit in an initial public offering.

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Net profit in the July-September quarter was 2.89 billion Singapore dollars (US$2.12 billion, up from S$972.3 million in the same period of last year, Singtel said in a statement to the Singapore Exchange.

The reported profit figure included one-time gains of S$1.93 billion, without which net profit would have been S$929 million, compared with S$969 million last year.

The profit contribution from Singtel's regional associates fell 7.2% on year to S$620 million, it said. Singtel, the biggest mobile-phone operator in Southeast Asia by subscribers, owns substantial equity stakes in several other operators, including companies in India, Thailand and Indonesia.

Revenue rose 6.9% to S$4.37 billion, Singtel said.

"Our first half results have been achieved against a tougher business backdrop," said Chua Sock Koong, the company's chief executive. Regional markets "remain attractive" with Singtel's associates driving customer growth and data consumption, Ms. Chua said.

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Singtel said it will pay a special dividend of 3 Singapore cents a share, distributing nearly S$500 million out of the S$2.3 billion in proceeds from the IPO of NetLink NBN Trust (CJLU.SG). It will also pay a regular dividend of 6.8 Singapore cents a share.

Singtel's Australian unit, Optus Pte., reported a 4.4% decline in net profit to 175 million Australian dollars (US$134.4 million) during the September quarter, reflecting higher depreciation and amortization after investing to grow its network. Optus's operating revenue was stable at A$2.12 billion.

Write to Gaurav Raghuvanshi at gaurav.raghuvanshi@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 08, 2017 18:50 ET (23:50 GMT)