SingTel Q3 net profit rises on strength of regional affiliates

Singtel: Why we guided down FY revenue

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.

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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

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.

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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.

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"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.