M1 – BT

M1’s Q3 net profit rises 1.6% to $43.6m

MOBILEONE (M1) has reported a marginal gain of 1.6 per cent to $43.6 million in net profit for the third quarter ended Sept 30, helped by lower taxation.

Earnings per share was up 12.6 per cent to 4.9 cents.

Total revenue for the quarter rose 5.8 per cent to $200.2 million as M1 managed to sell more handphones in a very tough market where mobile subscription exceeds the population.

Operating expenses rose 8 per cent to $144 million while taxation was 7.8 per cent

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation margin was down to 46.7 per cent from 50.7 per cent.

Statistics from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) put the country’s mobile penetration rate at 111.2 per cent in June this year, meaning the total number of handphone subscriptions far exceeds the entire local population.

M1, Singapore’s smallest listed telco, said for the first nine months, net profit increased 7.3 per cent to $133.9 million. Revenue for the nine months grew 4.3 per cent to $596.4 million.

M1 added 58,000 new customers in the third quarter to bring its total customer base to 1.467 million.

Data usage continued to grow, with non-voice services contributing 21.7 per cent to service revenue in the quarter, compared with 19.2 per cent in the same period last year.

M1 chief executive Neil Montefiore said, with mobile penetration exceeding 110 per cent, the competitive environment will remain challenging.

‘M1 will continue to innovate and enhance our service delivery to meet our customers’ total wireless communications needs while maintaining a disciplined approach to cost management. M1 will also continue to look for new opportunities for growth,’ he said.

Based on the current outlook, M1 estimates single-digit growth in net profit for full-year 2007.

It also maintained guidance for capital expenditure for full-year 2007 at $70 million.

M1 said total cash distribution for the year to be at least 80 per cent of net profit.

For the half-year, M1 had paid out a total of 7.1 cents comprising an interim dividend of 2.5 cents and 4.6 cents per share by way of a capital reduction without any share cancellation. Together, that amounted to 70 per cent of first-half net profit.

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