Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., Southeast Asia's largest phone company, posted a surprise increase in second-quarter profit after its Indian unit Bharti Airtel Ltd. posted record earnings.
Net income climbed 3.3 percent to S$988 million ($683 million), or 6.18 Singapore cents per share, in the three months ended Sept. 30, from S$956 million, or 5.76 cents, a year earlier. Profit surpassed the S$935 million median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of six analysts. Sales rose 11 percent to S$3.7 billion.
Singapore Telecom, known as SingTel, bolstered earnings with contributions from Asian mobile units including Bharti to counter slowing growth in Singapore and Australia. Chief Executive Officer Chua Sock Koong aims to extend SingTel's regional strategy through a stake in Pakistan's Warid Telecom International LLC and plans to invest in Vietnam.
``SingTel is one of the best names to own in the Asian telecoms region,'' said Philippe Kiewiet De Jonge, who holds the company's shares in the $160 million telecommunications fund he manages at ABN Amro Asset Management at Amsterdam. ``Bharti has done phenomenally well.'' He spoke before earnings were released.
The company plans to pay stockholders an interim dividend of 5.6 Singapore cents a share.
SingTel shares traded in Sydney rose 0.7 percent to A$2.94 as of 10:15 a.m. The Singapore-traded stock rose 1.6 percent to S$3.92 yesterday, taking the gains this year to 20 percent. ( Bloomberg )