SingTel posts rise in Q1 profit but flags decline in FY earnings

Group flags drop of about 5% in FY earnings after subsidiary Optus takes earnings hit.

Optus parent Singapore Telecommunications (SGT) has flagged a drop of about 5% in full-year earnings and said it will keep Optus' $2-billion plus satellite business, after posting an increase in net profit for the first quarter to June.

Dual-listed SingTel's net profit for the three months to 30 June grew 7% to $S1.01 billion ($876.5 million), from $S905 million in the prior year when analysts were anticipating approximately $928.7 million.

Underlying net profit added 6% to $S8.97 billion.

Operating revenue for the period fell 5% to $S4.29 billion, from $S4.53 billion in the previous corresponding period, on a drop in takings for subsidiary Optus after a slowdown in the Australian mobile market and strong Australian dollar.

SingTel said it expected group earnings to fall by a "mid single digit level" for the full year.

The result comes after SingTel posted a fall of almost half a billion dollars in net profit for the fiscal year to March, from the previous corresponding period. 

Before SingTel's announcement today, speculation had been mounting that private equity outfit TPG Capital was in the running to buy Optus' satellite business.

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