Currency losses roil Singtel earnings despite underlying gains

Telco records S$88M exceptional loss after plunge in Nigerian naira.

Robert Clark, Contributing Editor, Special to Light Reading

August 21, 2023

2 Min Read
Currency losses roil Singtel earnings despite underlying gains
Singtel's results were upset by unfavorable currency movements(Source: Contributor: tofino / Alamy Stock Photo)

Foreign currency shocks have dragged down Singtel's second-quarter earnings, despite underlying gains in revenue and profit.

The group, with telco assets in southeast Asia, India and Australia, reported a 23% decline in net income to 483 million Singapore dollars (US$356 million). It recorded an exceptional loss of S$88 million ($65 million), compared to an exceptional gain of S$129 million ($95 million) last year, thanks to devaluation of the naira that hit Bharti Airtel's Nigerian operation, and a loss on foreign currency bonds.

Total revenue fell 2.7% and core earnings declined 7.7%, although on a constant currency basis sales were up 2.5% and earnings down just 3.1%.

Underlying net profit rose 15%, to S$571 million ($421 million), driven by the Digital InfraCo unit, which holds Singtel's data center, subsea and satellite assets, and IT services business NCS, the company said.

Digital InfraCo boosted sales by 17%, mainly from data center and satellite services, while NCS grew 14% thanks to contributions from some of its recent acquisitions and growth in both enterprise and telco businesses.

The falling value of the Australian dollar impacted the contribution from Singtel’s biggest unit, Optus. The Australian telco recorded S$1.79 billion ($1.32 billion) in revenue, an 8% fall from last year, although just 1% lower in constant-currency terms.

Mobile competition

In Singtel's domestic market, revenue fell 1.8% due to continued decline in legacy business and sharp mobile price competition that drove consumers to lower end plans. Among regional affiliates, Globe Telecom pre-tax profit fell 26% and Telkomsel's by 4%, while the biggest gain came from Airtel, up 16%.

"Underlying net profit grew 15% in the first quarter despite prevailing macroeconomic challenges and currency headwinds," said CEO Yuen Kuan Moon.

Besides the growth at NCS and Digital InfraCo, the company had been aided by the recovery in roaming and by lower finance costs due to its asset disposals in the last two years, he said.

"Going forward, we expect the integration of our core consumer and enterprise businesses, which is underway in both Singapore and Australia, as the next step in our strategic reset, to optimize synergies, help deliver cost benefits and drive growth."

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— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Robert Clark

Contributing Editor, Special to Light Reading

Robert Clark is an independent technology editor and researcher based in Hong Kong. In addition to contributing to Light Reading, he also has his own blog,  Electric Speech ( 

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