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SingTel Q3 net profit rises on strength of regional affiliates

Singapore Telecommunications beat forecasts with a 6 percent rise in third-quarter net profit, as strength in its regional affiliates helped overcome the negative impact of a volatile foreign currency market.

Southeast Asia's largest telecommunications operator posted a net profit for the October - December quarter of S$872 million ($688.62 million), beating an average forecast of $857 million by five analysts polled by Reuters.

Its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were nearly flat from a year earlier at S$1.26 billion.

(Watch now: Singtel: 70% of earnings are outside Singapore)

The company's operating revenue declined 7.3 percent on the year to S$4.26 billion, hit by the sharp decline in the Australian dollar, it said on Thursday.

SingTel's share of its associates' pre-tax profits saw a strong 11 percent gain, mainly thanks to robust earnings growth from Bharti Airtel, the top mobile phone operator in India in which SingTel has a 32 percent stake.

Chua Sock Koong, chief executive officer of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel), speaks during an interview at the company's offices in Singapore, on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013.
Munshi Ahmed | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Chua Sock Koong, chief executive officer of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel), speaks during an interview at the company's offices in Singapore, on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013.

Its total number of mobile customers increased 3 percent in the quarter to 501 million, SingTel said.

SingTel's major overseas businesses are in Australia, India and Indonesia.

(Read more: Singapore Airshow 2014 to highlight the rise of Asia)

The Australian dollar, the Indonesian rupiah and the Indian rupee declined 9 percent, 18 percent and 12 percent respectively against the Singapore dollar during the quarter.

The company revised guidance on segment performance for the financial year ending March 2014, expecting low double-digit declines in consumer business revenue and low single-digit falls in enterprise business income.

(Read more: Singapore, the tiny state with military clout)

"We have updated our revenue guidance for Group Consumer and Group Enterprise as a result of the weak Australian dollar and the more cautious business environment and spending," Group CEO Chua Sock Koong said in a statement.

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