SingTel Q4 profit misses expectations, hit by currency losses

SINGAPORE Wed May 14, 2014 7:17pm EDT

SINGAPORE May 15 (Reuters) - Singapore Telecommunications Ltd's fourth-quarter net profit climbed 4 percent from a year earlier but came in shy of analysts' expectations, hurt by unfavourable exchange rates and a lacklustre performance from its group enterprise business.

Southeast Asia's largest telecommunications operator said net profit was S$898 million ($720 million) in the January-March quarter, missing an average forecast of S$968 million from five analysts polled by Reuters.

It was a modest climb from a weak result in the same period a year earlier, when the company was hit by a one-time loss from the sale of its stake in a Pakistan's Warid.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were S$1.3 billion, down 9.2 percent from a year earlier.

Earnings at its overseas businesses were hit by slide in the value of the Australian dollar, Indonesian rupiah and Indian rupee against the Singapore dollar. Its net profit would have risen 13 percent in constant currency terms.

"Our performance held up strongly against industry challenges and currency volatility," Chief Executive Chua Sock Koong said in a statement.

EBITDA at its group enterprise business, which covers areas like IT services and cloud computing, fell 12 percent to S$490 million.

The company said it expects earnings to be stable in the next financial year, with capital expenditure estimated at around S$2.3 billion. ($1 = 1.2501 Singapore Dollars) (Reporting by Rachel Armstrong; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)