SingTel Q3 net profit falls worse-than-expected 8.3 pct

SINGAPORE Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:42pm EST

SINGAPORE Feb 14 (Reuters) - Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, Southeast Asia's largest telecommunications operator, posted on Thursday an 8.3 percent fall in third-quarter net profit as weakness in India and the strong Singapore dollar offset improved results from Thailand and Indonesia.

SingTel, Singapore's largest company by market capitalisation, earned S$827 million ($667.99 million) in the three months ended December, down from S$902 million a year ago. Its results lagged the S$900 million average estimate of three analysts polled by Reuters.

The lower profit was partly due to exceptional charges of S$67 million, including Optus' ex-gratia payments for the restructuring of its workforce and accelerated depreciation charges related to Philippine associate Globe Telecom's network modernisation and IT transformation programmes.

SingTel's underlying net profit fell 2.3 percent to S$874 million from S$895 million a year ago.

Looking ahead, SingTel said it expects group consolidated revenue to decline by low single-digit level for the current financial year ending March 2013, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation remaining stable.

SingTel, the dominant telecom operator in Singapore, owns Optus in Australia as well as large stakes in regional players such as India's Bharti, Indonesia's Telkomsel and Thailand's Advanced Info Service Pcl (AIS). ($1 = 1.2381 Singapore dollars) (Reporting by Kevin Lim and Eveline Danubrata; Editing by Matt Driskill)

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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