SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – Singtel on Thursday (Nov 11) reported a 109.2 per cent jump in earnings to $954 million from $466.1 million in the year-ago period.

Earnings were driven by the improved share of results of associates and joint ventures, reversing a loss of $290.8 million to a gain of $770.3 million in H1 FY2022, the telco said in an exchange filing.

Operating revenue for the half-year period edged up 3 per cent to $7.6 billion from $7.4 billion a year prior, driven mainly by the Australia consumer business rising 2 per cent to $3.3 billion due to mobile service revenue growing 9.8 per cent on stronger postpaid revenue.

Other business segments that recorded gains in revenue include NCS at 5 per cent to $1.1 billion, Amobee at 19 per cent to $490 million, and Trustwave at 2 per cent to $199 million. Group enterprise business remained stable at $1.9 billion, while Singapore consumer business slipped 1 per cent to $867 million.

Singtel booked a loss of $59.1 million in exceptional items for the half-year period due to one-off items from Airtel and Telkomsel, and restructuring costs as well as stamp duty and fees relating to the restructuring of tower infrastructure assets in Australia.

In the corresponding period a year ago, Singtel booked a gain of $539.3 million a year ago for a dilution in Singtel’s stake in Airtel.

“The prospects in the region remain bright as the demand for digital services continues to grow. We’re pleased to see Airtel turn the corner, executing strongly in both India and Africa to deliver a profit turnaround,” said Yuen Kuan Moon, Singtel chief executive officer.

“Despite continued Covid-19 uncertainty and structural challenges in the industry, we’ve entered an improved period of recovery that’s seen business activity return. Our resilient set of results attests to this as well as reflects the strength of our diversified portfolio,” said Mr Yuen.

Singtel’s board of directors has approved an interim dividend of 4.5 cents per share representing about 76 per cent or $473 million of the group’s underlying net profit for H1 FY2022. The company expects to pay dividends at the upper half of the dividend policy range of between 60 per cent and 80 per cent of underlying net profit for FY2022.

In its outlook, Singtel sees Covid-19 continuing to weigh on its markets, but affirms its guidance in May 2021, with dividends from regional associates expected to be at least $1.3 billion, and capital expenditure totalling $2.4 billion including 5G networks.

Singtel shares closed at $2.55 on Wednesday (Nov 10), down two cents or 0.8 per cent, before its results release.