M1 – BT

M1’s Q4 net profit up 1.6% at $37.2m

Revenue rises 11% to $216.2m, thanks to higher handset sales

MOBILEONE’s net profit inched up 1.6 per cent to $37.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2009, from $36.6 million for the year-ago comparative period.

For the full year ended Dec 31, 2009, net profit rose 0.1 per cent to $150.3 million, from 2008’s $150.1 million.

Fourth-quarter operating revenue rose 11.1 per cent year-on-year to $216.2 million. This was helped by higher handset sales, which surged 126.5 per cent year on year to $36 million for Q4 ’09 and 30.2 per cent to $80.9 million for FY09 mainly due to higher sales volume. Compared with 3Q09, it rose 135.9 per cent.

In Q4, MobileOne had thrown its hat in the iPhone ring and offered the Apple touchscreen phone to customers, after a 15-month monopoly on the phone by SingTel.

‘The response to the iPhone was overwhelming. Our shops have been kept very busy, far beyond our expectations,’ said Karen Kooi, MobileOne’s chief executive officer.

Operating revenue for 2009, however, dipped 2.4 per cent to $781.6 million due to lower service revenue.

Mobile revenue slipped 1.6 per cent year on year to $143.1 million in Q4 and 5.9 per cent to $565.7 million for 2009.

The post-paid segment saw revenue shrink 2.4 per cent to $124.7 million in Q4 because of lower voice usage and roaming revenue. Revenue from the pre-paid segment, however, grew 3.8 per cent in Q4 to $18.4 million.

MobileOne’s total customer base grew by 128,000 year-on-year and 40,000 quarter-on-quarter to 1.758 million customers in Q4, 52 per cent of which were post-paid customers and the rest, prepaid customers. Its overall market share was 25.7 per cent.

MobileOne will be banking on its Next Generation National Broadband Network (NGNBN) for growth in 2010.

‘The NGNBN, to be launched this second quarter, will present new and exciting opportunities for MobileOne. For 2010, we aim to grow revenue and mobile market share,’ said Ms Kooi.

‘Based on the current outlook, we foresee earnings this year to be comparable to 2009.’

Ms Kooi did not rule out MobileOne’s bringing in the Google Nexus One handset, saying that the company will review whether or not to bring in new phones, including Google’s.

A final tax-exempt dividend of 7.2 cents per share has been recommended, taking the group’s full-year payout to 80 per cent of net profit after tax for 2009. The interim dividend in 2009 had been 6.2 cents per share, bringing total dividend for the year to 13.4 cents per share.

Earnings per share rose 2.4 per cent year-on-year to 4.2 cents for Q4 but were flat for the year, at 16.8 cents.

MobileOne shares closed trading yesterday at $1.97.

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