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SingTel net profit down 3%

Singapore Telecom said Thursday its first quarter net profit fell 3.0%, weighed mainly by lower contributions from its Indian mobile associate Bharti Airtel.

business Updated: Aug 11, 2011 10:43 IST

Singapore Telecom said Thursday its first quarter net profit fell 3.0%, weighed mainly by lower contributions from its Indian mobile associate Bharti Airtel.

Weaker currencies in countries where SingTel holds strategic stakes in mobile phone firms also helped weigh on the bottom line.

SingTel, Southeast Asia's biggest phone company by revenue, said in a statement that net profit in the three months to June amounted to Sg$916 million ($755.6 million), compared with Sg$943 million the year before.

The figure came short of the Sg$943.8 million net profit tipped by a Dow Jones poll of five analysts.

SingTel's group revenue gained 7.4 percent to Sg$4.61 billion.

"Our geographical diversity helped reduce the impact of foreign exchange volatility on our quarter's results, with the stronger Australian dollar offsetting the effects of weaker regional currencies," said SingTel chief executive Chua Sock Koong.

"Our Singapore and Australian businesses continue to perform well, especially in the mobile segment," she said in a statement.

Outside its Singapore home market, SingTel has a wholly owned subsidiary called Optus in Australia.

SingTel also holds key stakes in six regional mobile operators: Advanced Info Service in Thailand, India's Bharti Airtel, Globe Telecom in the Philippines, Telkomsel in Indonesia, Warid Telecom in Pakistan and Pacific Bangladesh Telecom.

The company said pre-tax earnings contributions from these associates in the three months to June fell an annual 10.1 percent to Sg$472 million, pulled down in large part by India's Bharti, which also has operations in Africa.

Bharti's pre-tax contributions tumbled 27 percent to Sg$154 million due to higher investments in its third-generation network, losses in its Africa operations and the Indian rupee falling 10 percent against the Singapore dollar.

SingTel is subjected to volatility in foreign exchange rates as it reports earnings in Singapore dollars.

SingTel also said its regional mobile subscriber base reached 416 million as of June 30, up 19 percent, or 64.4 million new clients, from a year ago.