SINGAPORE (May 15): Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) posted $773 million in earnings for the 4Q19 ended March, down $7.7 million or 1% y-o-y compared to 4Q18 earnings of $769.6 million after factoring in exceptional gains from Airtel.

The latest set of results brings the group’s full year earnings to $3.1 billion for FY19, representing a 44% decline from FY18 earnings of $5.5 billion which was mainly attributed to the absence of an exceptional gain from the divestment of NetLink Trust (NLT).

SingTel is recommending a final dividend of 10.7 cents per share, totalling approximately $1.75 billion as of end March.

Operating revenue for the fourth quarter rose 2% to $4.34 million from $4.26 million a year ago, driven by growth in ICT, digital services and higher equipment sales from mobile connections across Singapore and Australia.

In the group consumer segment, Singapore revenue and EBITDA grew 1% and 5%, respectively, due to cost management.

Mobile revenue in Singapore grew 4% as strong equipment sales offset the impact of lower prepaid voice usage and revenue, while postpaid customer growth increased by 32,000 for the quarter. Fixed services fell due to lower voice usage, but this was mitigated by the growth in broadband services.

Australia’s group consumer and EBITDA both increased 10% for the quarter, led mainly by higher NBN migration payments.

Group Enterprise’s revenue however fell 3% for the quarter as a result of lower carriage revenue, ICT services rose 4% led by NCS while cyber security revenue was up 11%, driven by strong growth in Asia Pacific.

Group Digital Life’s revenue rose 33% for the quarter from digital marketing arm Amobee’s programmatic advertising business, and contributions from Videology, which was acquired in August 2018.

Group operating expenses grew by $149 million or 4.8% to $3.2 billion from $3.1 billion a year ago.

Underlying net profit for FY19 declined 21% on losses from Airtel, lower contributions from Telkomsel, erosion of carriage services, lower NLT contributions with the reduced stake as well as currency headwinds.

Commenting on the latest set of results, group CEO Chua Sock Koong says: “We have executed well to our strategy amid tougher industry, business and economic conditions. The fundamentals of our core business remained strong. We gained market share in mobile across both Singapore and Australia led by our product innovations, content and services that were well-received by customers. Our digital businesses Amobee and Trustwave continued to deepen their capabilities and to scale.”

“Looking ahead, we will accelerate our digitalisation efforts to drive better customer experience and improve productivity and cost structure by transforming our processes,” she adds.

Shares in SingTel closed 1 cent higher at $3.15 on Tuesday.