Asian growth boosts SingTel earnings

SingTel, Southeast Asia's largest phone company, posted a 9.6% rise in quarterly underlying profit, as robust Asian mobile growth offset a margin squeeze at its Australian unit Optus, a Reuters report said.

The Reuters report said SingTel, Singapore's largest listed firm, maintained its guidance for higher earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation and single-digit operating sales growth for its domestic operations in its fiscal year ending March.

The state-controlled firm made underlying net profit before goodwill and exceptionals of S$931 million ($658 million) for the fiscal third quarter ended December 31, compared with S$850 million ($600.8 million) in the year-ago period, the Reuters report said.

The result was above an average net profit forecast of S$918.8 million ($649 million) from a Reuters survey of five analysts.

Excluding compensation from the Singapore telecoms watchdog for loss of monopoly status, SingTel's underlying net profit surged 22%, the report added,.

Attributable net profit, however, fell 4.2% to S$952.3 million ($673 million) due to foreign exchange losses and after the year-earlier quarter was boosted by exceptional gains from a property sale, the report said.

Group operating revenue jumped 11% to S$3.83 billion ($2.3 billion), thanks to higher revenues in Singapore and the appreciation of the Australian dollar.