(Associated Press via NewsEdge) SingTel said its January-March quarter profit grew 10.5% compared with a year ago, on higher revenue and stronger contributions from its regional associates as well as a one-time gain.
The company said in a statement its net profit for the fiscal fourth quarter rose to
S$1.1 billion Singapore dollars ($804 million), up from S$989.4 million a year earlier.
A Dow Jones poll of analyst had forecast net profit of S$905.3 million.
The quarterly figures included an exceptional gain of S$153 million ($112 million) from Bharti Airtel's. sale of shares in a subsidiary. SingTel has a 30.4% stake in the Indian mobile operator.
Underlying net profit for the quarter, excluding government compensations for giving up its monopoly status in Singapore, rose 9.2 % to S$968 million ($708 million).
The strong performance of Bharti and Indonesian operator PT Telkomsel, in which SingTel holds a 35% stake, helped boost sales. Quarterly revenue rose
11 % to S$3.76 billion ($2.75 billion).
SingTel said it expects double-digit underlying earnings growth in the medium term. It also expects revenue from the Singapore operations to grow at the mid single-digit level in the fiscal year through March 2009.
The company said earnings from its stakes in regional mobile operators are expected to grow at double-digit levels, although the rate of growth will be slower than that in the past two years.
SingTel has stakes in six regional operators, Bharti, Telkomsel, the Philippine's' Globe Telecom, Pakistan's Warid Telecom, Pacific Bangladesh Telecom and Thailand's Advanced Info Service PCL.
SingTel reiterated that it continues to look for new investment opportunities and 'explore opportunities in adjacent markets _ Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa.'
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