Singtel Q3 net profit falls 14 pct hurt by regional associates

SINGAPORE, Feb 14 () - Singapore Telecommunications Ltd on Thursday reported a 14 percent drop in third-quarter net profit, due partly to intense competition in India and the impact of network investments by regional associates, and forecast a small decline in full-year earnings.

Singtel, Southeast Asia's largest telecom operator, posted net profit of S$823 million ($605 million) for the three months ended in December, compared with S$959 million a year ago.

Underlying net profit, which excludes one-time items, fell 28 percent to S$680 million, with its results also hurt by the rising shift from voice to data and margin erosion in traditional carriage services, the company said.

Singtel said it now expects group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the full year to decline by a low single digit, versus its previous forecast for EBITDA to be stable.

The company will "step up on managing costs, growing revenues and driving efficiencies through increased digitalisation efforts," Chua Sock Koong, Singtel's chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Singtel owns stakes in a number of regional telecom operators including India'sBharti Airtel, whose earnings have suffered from increased competition in its home market.

It expects operating revenue at Amobee, it digital marketing arm, to grow by low teens and its EBITDA to be slightly negative. It has previously forecast Amobee's revenue to grow by a high single digit and its EBITDA to be positive.

($1 = 1.3597 Singapore dollars)

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