SingTel Reports Fiscal Q4

Operating revenue grew 2.1% to S$3.33B, compared with the corresponding quarter in 2006

May 9, 2007

3 Min Read

SINGAPORE -- Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel) today announced its audited results for the fourth quarter and year ended 31 March 2007.

Group results for the year ended 31 March 2007 The SingTel Group achieved strong earnings growth with underlying net profit rising 7.9 per cent, compared with the previous year, to S$3.56 billion. During the same period, with the capital reduction exercise completed in September 2006, underlying earnings per share increased at a higher 11 per cent to 21.88 cents.

Full-year operating revenue for the Group was stable at S$13.15 billion. Free cash flow was comparable to last year at S$2.80 billion.

Operational EBITDA was S$4.28 billion, a 4.1 per cent decline with operating expenses up 2.3 per cent.

With lower exceptional gain and higher tax expense, net profit after tax (NPAT) fell 9.2 per cent to S$3.78 billion.

For the year, pre-tax profit from associates rose 26 per cent to S$2.07 billion and contributed 43 per cent of the Group’s underlying net profit, up from 37 per cent a year ago.

Ms Chua Sock Koong, Group CEO, said: “SingTel Group has achieved strong earnings in a challenging environment. I am pleased that we have met our guidance for the financial year. The regional mobile associates are the key drivers of the Group’s growth. Our Singapore business showed good revenue growth and continued to generate strong cash flow. Optus delivered a robust performance despite aggressive competition.

“As a result of the strong earnings and healthy cash flow, the Board has recommended a total distribution of S$3.3 billion to shareholders, or 20.5 cents per share. This is based on final dividend of 6.5 cents per share and special dividend of 9.5 cents per share totalling S$2.6 billion, as well as the interim dividend of S$0.7 billion paid out in January this year.”

She added: “We are balancing our objective for an efficient balance sheet with financial flexibility to make further investments.”

Group results for the quarter ended 31 March 2007

The Group’s operating trends were strong for the quarter. Operating revenue grew 2.1 per cent to S$3.33 billion, compared with the corresponding quarter in 2006.

EBITDA grew 4.3 per cent to S$1.72 billion while operational EBITDA was stable at S$1.10 billion.

Earnings trends, however, were affected by exceptional items in the previous corresponding quarter. As a result, the Group’s NPAT during the quarter declined 41 per cent year-on-year to S$989 million but was stable from the preceding quarter. The decline in NPAT on a year-on-year basis was attributed to material one-off gains recorded in the corresponding quarter last year, including S$618 million from the deconsolidation of C2C.

NPAT was also affected by higher tax expenses, despite the reduction in Singapore’s corporate tax rate from 20 to 18 per cent. Tax expense for the quarter was S$173 million, compared to the low S$73 million in the corresponding quarter last year. In March 2006 quarter, a one-off catch-up in deferred tax asset of S$152 million was recorded in respect of interest expenses for an inter-company loan.

Excluding one-off items and the catch-up in deferred tax asset, the Group’s NPAT was 13 per cent higher from a year ago.

The overseas associates, particularly Bharti and Telkomsel, continued to report strong growth in profit on the back of rapid growth in subscriber base. The Group’s share of pre-tax profit from associates increased 16 per cent to S$543 million. The associates accounted for 43 per cent of the Group’s underlying net profit in the quarter, up from 35 per cent a year ago.

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) (OTC: SGTJY)

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