StarHub Q3 profit dips 8%

StarHub Q3 profit dips 8%

Melissa Chua  |   November 10, 2011

Singapore’s second largest carrier StarHub saw profit for Q3 this year fall 8% year-on-year to S$75.8 million ($58.9 million) despite a rise in operating revenue.

Operating revenue rose 4% year-on-year to S$572.2 million due to higher equipment sales and service revenue, but net profit after tax for the quarter was adversely affected by higher operating expenses, which hiked 7% increase over Q3 2010.

StarHub’s mobile customer base grew 3% from a year earlier. Post-paid mobile services revenue increased 6% to S$245.7 million, with pre-paid mobile services revenue declining 9% to S$61.7 million. Post-paid ARPU increased S$2 to S$74 year-on-year and pre-paid ARPU declined S$2 to S$19 due mainly to lower voice usage.

The carrier’s Pay TV business added 5,000 customers and lifted ARPU S$1 to S$50; broadband ARPU grew S$1 to S$45 due to a higher proportion of customers on lower priced and triple play plans. StarHub’s residential broad band customer base grew 6% year-on-year and ended the quarter with 438,000 customers.

StarHub’s year to date net profit after tax rose 22% to S$223 million compared to the first three quarters last year.

Larger rival SingTel fared slightly better for the quarter, reporting a 0.7% underlying net profit decline. Group revenue rose 3.9% year-on-year to S$4.4 billion, with revenue from subsidiary Optus rising 0.7% to S$2.3 billion.

Revenue from SingTel’s operations in Singapore increased 1% to S$1.6 billion. Low revenue from fiber rollouts hampered SingTel’s results from its Singapore operations. The firm said in an investor report that revenue growth would be 3% excluding fiber rollouts.

SingTel’s mobile communications revenue from its Singapore operations rose 9% to S$477 million for the quarter. The firm added 71,000 mobile customers in Q3 and ended the quarter with a 3.49 million strong customer base. The firm saw an increase in number of subscriptions to data-only SIMS for the postpaid market, which reduced overall ARPU by 4% to S$85 per month.

SingTel’s Group results for the quarter were dampened by regional carriers the Group invested in license fees, amortization and financing costs in combination with weaker regional currencies contributed toward lackluster showings from its regional affiliates.

SingTel’s share of pre-tax ordinary profit from Bharti Airtel’s combined operations in South Asia and Africa fell 37.2% year-on-year to S$131 million, with SingTel accounting for a S$30 million loss from Bharti’s African operations. Pre-tax ordinary profit from Globe Telecom and Warid Telecom fell 0.8% and 1.4% respectively.

Melissa Chua
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