Singapore Telecommunications Ltd on Thursday reported a 1.8 per cent rise in fourth-quarter net profit, helped by growth in broadband, mobile data and services such as cybersecurity. REUTERS pic

SINGAPORE: Singapore Telecommunications Ltd on Thursday reported a 1.8 per cent rise in fourth-quarter net profit, helped by growth in broadband, mobile data and services such as cybersecurity.

Southeast Asia’s largest telecom operator posted a net profit of S$963 million (US$692.7 million) for the three months ended in March, compared with S$946 million a year ago. Underlying net profit, which excludes one-time items, rose 0.8 per cent.

The company posted a 2.9 per cent rise in its underlying annual net profit of S$3.92 billion, almost in line with analysts’ average estimate of S$3.91 billion.

Consolidated revenue was expected to grow by mid-single digits and Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) by low single digits for the full year ending March 2018.

The results were affected by a lower contribution from regional associate Bharti Airtel, which has been hit with intense competition in its home market of India.

Preparations for an initial public offering of its broadband subsidiary, NetLink Trust, this financial year were making “good progress“, Singtel said.

Singtel in February confirmed the appointment of DBS Group Holdings Ltd, Morgan Stanley and UBS Group AG to handle the planned Initial public offering (IPO).

The IPO was expected to raise up to US$2.5 billion, IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication, reported in November, citing people close to the deal.

In its Group Digital Life unit, which includes services such as data analytics, Singtel said its digital marketing business Amobee Group was targeting break-even in EBITDA.

Among its regional associates, Indonesian firm PT Telkomsel’s pre-tax profit contribution rose 17 per cent for the fourth quarter. Bharti Airtel’s pre-tax profit contribution halved. -- REUTERS

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