SingTel – DBSV

Flip Flop from Optus

At a Glance

1Q12 underlying profit of S$873m (-7% YoY, -13% QoQ) was 5% below ours and 8% below consensus

Optus was the key disappointment especially after posting impressive earnings in 4Q11

Management maintained its EBITDA guidance for Singapore & Australia. HOLD for 6% yield at 12x FY12F PE (historic average 13.4x)

Flip flop from Optus. Optus’ net profit of A$174m (+2.5% YoY, -33% QoQ) was significantly below expectations. 1Q12 EBITDA of A$560m saw a sharp decline of 17% QoQ from a seasonally strong 4Q11 as EBITDA margins declined to 24.2% from 28.9% in 4Q11, even lower than 24.5% in 1Q11. Optus continues to face pricing pressure from competitors in the mobile segment. This was also reflected in blended ARPU decline of 2.8% QoQ to A$45. This may imply risk to Optus’ FY12F guidance of low-single digit growth in EBITDA, in the light of exceptionally high EBITDA base in 4Q11. A potentially lower mobile termination rate is also a risk for Optus.

Singapore performance was inline. Singapore’s net profit of S$328m (-12% YoY, +8% QoQ) was largely inline keeping in mind that higher content cost was absent in 1Q11. With 1Q12 EBITDA of S$567m (-4% YoY, +3% QoQ) there is little risk to stable EBITDA guidance.

Associate contribution hit by weak Bharti and strong SGD. Associate net profit contribution of S$362m (-12% YoY, -4% QoQ) continued to decline as Bharti’s earnings contribution of S$103m declined by 37% YoY and 20% QoQ. Strong Singapore dollar versus Indian Rupee, Indon Rupiah, Thai Baht and Philippine Peso further dragged earnings.

With 3% earning growth in FY12F, investors might appreciate regular yield exceeding 6%. Our FY12F earnings are 2% below consensus already. SingTel may not outperform unless earnings payout ratio is raised above 80% or capital management is performed more frequently in our view.

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