StarHub – BT

StarHub has no plans for special dividend: CEO

StarHub, Singapore’s second-biggest telecom firm, is unlikely to follow larger rival Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) with a special dividend this year, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

‘I don’t think we will be doing anything special this year,’ Neil Montefiore told Reuters on the sidelines of a telecom conference in Dublin.

‘We take a three-year view on the free cash flow. At the moment we are paying five (Singapore) cents a quarter. That gives a dividend yield at the moment of around 7-8 per cent depending on the share price.’

He added: ‘If we raise the dividend rate it has to be sustainable.’

Earlier this month, SingTel issued a final ordinary dividend of 9 cents and a special dividend of 10 cents, bringing the annual dividend to a record 25.8 cents a share, or a yield of 8 per cent based on its recent share price.

Mr Montefiore said that StarHub expected single digit growth in full-year revenues and net profits this year. In the first quarter of this year, the group reported a 62 per cent increase in net profit and flat operating revenues.

StarHub estimates that around 20,000 households in Singapore have taken up the next generation broadband network that is currently being rolled out in Singapore.

‘It launched in August of last year and we think somewhere around 20,000 homes have taken the fibre now,’ Mr Montefiore said. ‘We estimate that is the take-up across the whole market.

‘We heard the regulator is going to release the numbers quite soon but we haven’t got them yet.’

The new broadband network, which will be fully deployed by 2012, could provide Singapore users with Internet connection speeds that are up to 10 times faster than the current 100 megabytes per second. – Reuters

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