SINGAPORE (Sept 3): Bad publicity and fines do not seem to have hurt national fibre-optic broadband infrastructure provider Netlink NBN Trust. A year after listing on the Singapore Exchange, as part of an Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore arrangement for Singapore Telecommunications to pare down its stake, Netlink has beat its own earnings and dividend payout estimates. For FY2018 ended March 31, Netlink reported earnings that exceeded its forecast by nearly 11%, at $50 million. That allowed the trust to distribute 5% more per unit for the year than projected, at 3.24 cents a unit.

Netlink has continued to exceed its own expectations for 1QFY2019 ended June 30. Earnings for the three months amounted to $19 million, or 27% higher than what it had projected in its IPO prospectus. Turnover was 2.8% higher than forecast, at $86.1 million. The better performance was a result of higher diversion revenue, when Netlink is paid by third parties to divert fibre lines; and higher ducts and manhole service revenue, which is derived from the shared use, access to and building of lead-in ducts and manholes. Lower expenses contributed to earnings.

“We have proven that we can deliver those numbers we project,” Tong Yew Heng, CEO of Netlink’s manager Netlink NBN Management, tells The Edge Singapore. “As a business trust, we feel that it is important as people are looking at the stability of the distribution.”

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