Southeast Asia’s largest telecoms group by subscribers and revenues, Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), posted net profit of SGD945.4 million (USD654 million) for the three months ended 30 June 2009, up 7.7% from SGD878.1 million a year earlier – and its first profit gain in five quarters. In a press release SingTel said the group’s financial results were aided by strong performances from its overseas wireless affiliates such as Bharti Airtel (India) and Telkomsel (Indonesia), where overall profits rose by 16%, accounting for more than half of SingTel’s earnings in the period under review. Bharti, which is India’s biggest operator by subscribers, accounted for 24% of SingTel’s net income in 2Q09 – making it the largest single contributor from overseas. Bloomberg notes that SingTel is relying on Bharti, currently negotiating a merger with South Africa’s MTN Group, to tap countries with higher growth potential as traditional markets such as Singapore and Philippines reach saturation levels.
Telkomsel in Indonesia accounted for 19% of SingTel’s profits in the second quarter of 2009, while Australian unit SingTel Optus reported a 13% rise in profit to USD116 million, boosted by increased sales of the Apple iPhone. Meanwhile, in its home market SingTel said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 11% to SGD578 million on sales that increased 10% to SGD1.38 billion.