Jumat, 15 Agustus 2008

SINGAPORE (AFP) - Singapore Telecommunications said Tuesday first quarter net profit fell 5.3 percent from the previous year as a stronger Singapore dollar cut earnings from its regional mobile businesses.

Net profit in the first financial quarter to June came in at 878 million Singapore dollars (622 million US), down from 927 million dollars over the same period last year, Southeast Asias biggest telecom firm said in a statement.

Operating revenue rose 5.9 percent to 3.78 billion dollars from 3.57 billion dollars but the firm, also known as SingTel, warned that currency fluctuations could further hurt earnings.

"As we report in Singapore dollar, the financial results of our regional associates are exposed to fluctuations in foreign exchange rates," said SingTel chief executive Chua Sock Koong. "In this quarter, the impact was negative."

Pre-tax profit contributions from its regional mobile phone businesses fell 11 percent to 582 million dollars as the currencies of the countries where SingTel operates fell against the Singapore dollar.

Lower earnings from the Philippines Globe Telecom, Indonesias Telkomsel and losses from Pakistans Warid Telecom contributed to the decline, SingTel said.

Outside of Singapore, SingTel also has stakes in Indias Bharti, AIS in Thailand and PBTL in Bangladesh. It has a wholly owned subsidiary in Australia called SingTel Optus.

For the June quarter, 42 percent of SingTels earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) came from its regional mobile associates, while Optus accounted for 31 percent.

The Singapore home market accounted for the rest.

SingTel said that if regional currencies had remained stable, pre-tax profit contribution would have been flat.

For the quarter ended June 30, the Singapore dollar rose 13 percent against the Indian rupee, 15 percent against the Indonesian rupiah and 10 percent against the Thai baht from the same period last year.

SingTel said on Monday its regional mobile user base was up 45 percent to almost 198 million in the second quarter against a year earlier.

By midday Tuesday, SingTel shares were trading at 3.48 dollars a share, down ten cents from the previous day. The main Straits Times Index was up 1.12 points to 2,826.51.


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