Singtel has reported earnings before interest and tax of $328 million for the 3QFY21 ended Dec 31 2020. In constant currency terms, that’s a decline of 39.3% y-o-y. Its EBITDA was $1 billion in the same period, down 13.5% y-o-y. Revenue in the same period was down 5.9% y-o-y to $4.24 billion. 

While the on-going pandemic continue to hurt mobile roaming revenue, among others, Singtel’s enterprise business, with its subsidiary NCS, helped offset some of that drop, as it gained more business from helping customers push ahead with their respective digitalisation efforts.

For the quarter, Singtel’s enterprise business suffered the least revenue and earnings decline relative to other major business units, with earnings before and interest tax was down just 4.1% y-o-y to $195 million. In contrast, Singtel’s consumer business in Singapore suffered a 38% y-o-y drop to $82 million; its consumer business in Australia plunged 62.2% y-o-y to $107 million.

SEE: Singtel partners with IMDA and IHLs, to recruit 500 new hires for 5G related roles

“While the outlook is still uncertain, we are well-positioned for the new normal, especially with the group’s 5G rollout, the scaling of NCS and our digital bank joint venture in Singapore,” says group CEO Yuen Kuan Moon.

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“These differentiated assets and developments will prime us for new digital growth, particularly in areas where we can leverage the scale and experience of our group across Asia, and drive greater efficiencies,” he adds.

During the quarter, Singtel’s problem-plagued associate in India, Bharti, was able to report lower losses for the quarter. In constant currency terms, Singtel’s share of losses narrowed by 69.3% y-o-y to $28 million, from $93 million.

"We believe Bharti’s performance could drive recovery in regional associates’ contribution," says Maybank Kim Eng analyst Kareen Chan, who is keeping her "buy" call and $2.88 target price following Singtel's business update.

Yuen warns that the associates in the Philippines and Indonesia continue to face “intense” competition. “As leading operators in their markets, our associates continue to invest in digital innovation to deliver customer experiences. We remain positive about their growth potential as the demand for digital services continues to rise,” he says.

Singtel shares closed Feb 10 at $2.40, down 0.41%.