SINGAPORE (Feb 14): Singtel is bracing itself for weaker market sentiment as well as stiffer competition, as its reported Q3FY2020 earnings fell by a quarter from the year-earlier period, missing analysts’ expectations. The company has trimmed its guidance for the full year, again. Instead of expecting operating earnings to remain flat this full year, it is warning investors to brace themselves for a “low single-digit” drop.

“It’s been a challenging quarter,” says Singtel group CEO Chua Sock Koong on Feb 13, referring to sore points such as Optus, its Australia subsidiary, as well as overall weakness in the enterprise business, which serves large multinational corporations. Weaker-than-expected performance of its regional associates such as Telkomsel in Indonesia and AIS in Thailand did not help either, although others, such as Globe Telecom in the Philippines, did well.

For the Q3FY2020 to Dec 31, 2019, the telco reported earnings of $627.2 million, down 24% y-o-y. Revenue in the same period was down 5% y-o-y to $4.4 billion on the back of lower equipment sales, weaker business sentiment and spending and continued price erosion in carriage services.

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