SingTel – BT

Optus deal loss bad for SingTel: JPMorgan

AN Australian government decision to cancel a broadband contract involving Singapore Telecommunications is a setback for the group as the deal would have strengthened it against rival Telstra, JPMorgan said in a client note.

Australia on Wednesday cancelled a A$958 million (S$1.2 billion) funding agreement with OPEL, a joint venture between SingTel’s Optus Australian mobile phone arm and Futuris Corp Ltd’s Elders business, as some conditions including prescribed coverage requirements had not been met.

‘The termination of the OPEL contract is a positive for Telstra and a negative for SingTel as the network build in regional areas would have created greater competition in markets where Telstra enjoys a competitive advantage due to a lack of competition,’ JPMorgan analysts said.

JPMorgan is keeping its ‘neutral’ rating for SingTel shares. Optus chief executive Paul O’Sullivan said on Wednesday that the government’s decision was ‘based on flawed data’, and ‘was bad news for rural and regional Australia and for competition in the telecommunications industry’. — Reuters

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