SINGAPORE Aug 14 Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, Southeast Asia's largest telecommunications operator, reported a 17 percent fall in its first-quarter profit, hurt by one-off items and adverse currency movements.
SingTel earned S$835 million ($668.5 million) in the three months ended in June, compared with S$1.01 billion a year ago. The latest quarter included one-off losses of S$46 million, compared with net exceptional gains of S$114 million in the year-ago period.
Underlying net profit came in at S$881 million, down from S$897 million a year ago and below analysts' expectations for S$916 million, according to a Reuters poll of four brokerages.
Revenue fell 3.4 percent to S$4.15 billion, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were S$1.25 billion, down 3.2 percent.
SingTel derives the bulk of its profits from overseas, making its earnings particularly susceptible to currency changes.
Earnings contributions from its foreign associates were hurt by steep depreciations of currencies against the Singapore dollar, particularly the Indonesian rupiah which declined 19 percent, it said. Its share of profit at Indonesia's PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel) fell 13 percent from a year earlier to S$167 million.
The company is expected to benefit from a turnaround in the Indian market where it effectively owns nearly a third of top mobile phone carrier Bharti Airtel.
SingTel's share of Bharti's profit rose 84 percent to S$92 million, before one-time items.
It also owns more than a fifth of Thai market leader Advanced Info Service (AIS), which has been hurt by political unrest and fierce competition.
AIS's profit contribution fell 15 percent in the quarter.
SingTel's combined mobile customer base grew 10 percent to 525 million as of June 30.
The company said it expects its consolidated revenue and EBITDA for the financial year ending March 2015 to be stable.
Shares of the company, valued at $50 billion, have risen 6.8 percent so far this year, compared with a 4.2 percent increase in the broader market. (1 US dollar = 1.2491 Singapore dollar) (Reporting By Aradhana Aravindan and Rachel Armstrong; Editing by Richard Pullin)