SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – Singtel swung into the black with a net profit of $445 million for the first quarter ended June 30, compared with a net loss of $20 million a year ago on the back of an improved operating and business environment with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

The telco on Thursday (Aug 12) also posted a 7.5 per cent increase in operating revenue to $3.8 billion, from $3.5 billion a year ago.

Revenue growth was driven mainly by Singtel’s Australian consumer business, where its operating revenue grew by 7.7 per cent to $1.7 billion, from $1.6 billion a year ago due to an 11 per cent appreciation of the Australian dollar. Assuming a constant exchange rate, operating revenue for the Australian consumer business fell 2.6 per cent.

Still, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) for the business segment grew by 12 per cent on improved mobile postpaid average revenue per user, cessation of Covid-19-related customer fee waivers and rebates, as well as lower bad debts provision.

Singtel’s operating revenue in Singapore also rose 1.3 per cent year on year to $414 million, from $409 million the year before on higher mobile service, fixed broadband and equipment sales, while also partially offset by lower voice revenue.

Meanwhile, Singtel’s technology services arm NCS posted revenue growth of 5.7 per cent for the first quarter, including certain customer contracts that have been progressively transferred to Singtel.

Last month, the company announced plans for NCS to recast the subsidiary as a pan-Asian business-to-business digital services provider to drive further growth in the enterprise and telco sectors in the region.

Singtel shares advanced on the earnings’ announcement, rising five cents or 2.2 per cent to $2.36 as at 9.25am on Thursday.