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SingTel reports stable Optus full-year results

SingTel has reported that its Australian subsidiary, Optus, has achieved an operating revenue of $9.37 billion, up 1 per cent, and an EBITDA of $2.36 billion, up 2 per cent for the full year to 31 March 2012. Net profit for the year was up 2 per cent to $787 million.

For the quarter to 31 March 2012, Optus's operating revenue declined 1.1 per cent year on year to $2.296 billion. According to SingTel, the result reflects the "continued intense competition and the mandated reduction in mobile termination rates from 9 cents per minute to 6 cents from 1 January 2012."

Optus also recorded a decline in its mobile-related operating revenues of 3 per cent and a decline of 2 per cent in its mobile service revenue to $1.23 billion.

Detailing Optus's customer numbers, SingTel said Optus added some 82,000 post-paid customers during the quarter and maintained its pre-paid customers numbers bringing Optus' total customer base to 9.49 million as at March 2012.

Quarter on quarter Optus grew its 3G customer base to 6.63 million. 3G-based wireless broadband customers grew 6 per cent, or 26,000 customers, to 1.58 million.

In February this year, Optus announced net profit for the three months to December 31 rose just $8 million to $177 million, compared to the prior corresponding period.

SingTel added that in Optus's business and wholesale fixed overall revenue increased by 6 per cent based on satellite and ICT and managed services revenue growth. In Optus's consumer and small to medium fixed business, lower average revenue per user from increased broadband data inclusions and lower telephony usage resulted in on-net revenue declining 5 per cent.

SingTel also pointed to a number of major announcements made during the last few months including the extension of a site sharing arrangement with Vodafone Hutchison Australia.

According to SingTel, some 450 sites have been upgraded across Sydney, Melbourne and Perth since the program was announced.

During the quarter, Optus also announced plans to acquire Vividwireless Group for an expected cash consideration of $230 million.

In a statement to the ASX, chief country officer Australia Paul O'Sullivan, said the Australian mobile market remained highly competitive and has been further impacted by lower termination rates.

"Despite this, Optus demonstrated the underlying strength of its mobile business with continued post-paid customer growth in the quarter," he said.

"Looking forward, we believe we are in a strong position to compete more effectively and drive sustainable growth for our business with a number of key mobile network investments, a new brand position and a restructured cost base."

The ASX statement did not reference the decision by Optus to restructure and cut some 750 jobs in Australia.


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