SingTel Q1 profit slips on lower tax benefits in India
Singapore: Impacted by a contribution from Indian associate Bharti airtel, South-East Asia's biggest telecom firm SingTel today reported a 3 percent fall in first quarter net profit to 916 million Singapore dollars reducing tax holiday benefits in India.
Revenues of Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel), which operates in 20 countries and has about a one-third stake in India's largest mobile services provider Bharti airtel, rose 7 percent to Singapore dollars 4.61 billion for the quarter ended 30 June, said SingTel.
Though Bharti's operations in South Asia, covering India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, reported revenue and EBITDA growth, led by an increase in its customer base and stabilising tariffs in India, the Indian operations recorded higher licence fee amortisation and interest expenses as a result of
the rollout of 3G services.
Overall, including losses from Bharti Africa and the weaker Indian rupee, Bharti's ordinary pre-tax contribution to the group declined 27 percent to Singapore dollar 154 million, said SingTel.
In a year since Bharti began its operations in Africa, it was steadily growing its customer and usage levels, with corresponding improvements in revenue and EBITDA. Its transformation and restructuring plans were progressing well and Africa was positioned to deliver further growth for Bharti, said SingTel.
Mr Hui Weng Cheong, Singtel CEO - International, said: "In India, stabilising tariffs lifted revenue and EBITDA for Bharti's South Asia operations."
Comparatively, businesses in Singapore, Australia and Indonesia recorded healthy revenue growth and demonstrated strength in operations despite keen competition.
SingTel Group CEO Chua Sock Koong said that the geographical diversity helped reduce the impact of foreign exchange volatility on their quarter’s results, with the stronger Australian dollar offsetting the effects of weaker regional currencies.
"Our Singapore and Australian businesses continue to perform well, especially in the mobile segments. We will continue to invest for sustained growth into the future."
The group and its regional mobile associates had another quarter of strong customer growth and now have 416 millionmobile customers, a 19 percent increase from a year ago.
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Mittal, who has time and again drawn attention to the high taxes and levies in the sector, said it is important for the telecom industry to be sustainable as it is "high capital-intensive"