TELECOM & INTERNET | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singtel's profits crashed 43.5% to $3.10b in FY2019

Its underlying net profit dipped 21% as its Airtel business continued to incur losses.

Singtel’s full-year profit declined 43.5% to $3.1b from $5.47b in 2018, no thanks to lower contributions from associates and losses from Airtel.

Operating revenue for the full year was up 4% to $17.37b, boosted by growth in ICT, digital services and higher equipment sales from mobile connections across Singapore and Australia.

The final ordinary dividend per share is $0.107. This brings the total ordinary dividend per share for the year to $0.175 and represents a payout of approximately $2.86b.

Singtel’s Q4 profit went up to $773m from $770m in 2018, whilst its operating revenue for the quarter rose 2% to $4.34b.

As for its Airtel business, losses widened no thanks to competitive pressures, associates’ higher depreciation, spectrum amortisation, and network costs from the continued expansion of their respective 4G networks.

Airtel plans to raise up to US$4.5b, including US$3.5b through a rights issue.

“Intense competition has affected the markets in India and Indonesia this past year. Airtel is strengthening its balance sheet with capital raising now in progress, and has also announced an intended IPO for Airtel Africa,” said Chua Sock Koong, Singtel group CEO.

Meanwhile, the revenue of Singtel’s Group Enterprise business dipped 3% as a result of lower carriage revenue. ICT services rose 4% led by NCS whilst cybersecurity revenue grew 11%. ICT now contributes 51% of Group Enterprise revenue.

In addition, Group Digital Life’s revenue rose 33% in Q4 thanks to digital marketing arm Amobee’s programmatic advertising business, and contributions from Videology, which was acquired in August 2018. Its mobile streaming service HOOQ also saw revenue increase.

Singtel said that it will continue to invest in networks, spectrum, technology and content in its next financial year and expects its initiatives to bring cost savings and avoidance of around $490m.  

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