(Adds details, share price)
* Q2 net profit S$868 mln vs S$882 mln a year earlier
* Q2 underlying net profit S$886 mln; forecast S$896 mln
* Expects Australia operating revenue to fall in FY2013
* Interim dividend 6.8 Singapore cents per share
By Eveline Danubrata
SINGAPORE, Nov 14 Singapore Telecommunications
Ltd reported a 1.6 percent fall in second-quarter net
profit on Wednesday, dragged down by higher costs and weaker
regional currencies, and flagged a drop in group revenue this
fiscal year due to its Australian unit Optus.
SingTel, Southeast Asia's largest telecommunications firm,
said it now expects operating revenue in Australia to fall by
mid single-digit levels in the financial year ending March 2013,
due to price competition and reduced mobile termination rates.
Previously, revenue in Australia was expected to grow by low
With the revised revenue outlook for Australia, SingTel said
its group revenue is seen falling by low single-digit levels.
But it said group earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation
and amortisation (EBITDA) are expected to be stable.
SingTel had net profit of S$868 million ($710 million) for
the three months ended in September, down from S$882 million a
Excluding exceptional items, underlying net profit was S$886
million. That was below the S$896 million average forecast based
on a Reuters poll of six analysts.
SingTel maintained an interim dividend of 6.8 Singapore
cents per share.
Pretax earnings from SingTel's regional mobile associates
grew 17 percent to S$549 million, with strong operating
performance from Indonesia's Telkomsel and Thailand's
Advanced Info Service PCL helping to offset weaker
results from India's Bharti Airtel Ltd.
Bharti Airtel reported its 11th consecutive quarter of
profit declines last week, with margins under pressure from
SingTel shares have risen about 3 percent this year,
underperforming a 14 percent gain in the broader Straits Times
Of 24 analysts tracking SingTel, 14 have "hold" ratings, six
have "buy" or "strong buy" and four have "strong sell".
(Editing by Chris Gallagher)