SingTel Signals Optus Expansion as Profit Rises 5.4%

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., Southeast Asia’s biggest phone company, posted third-quarter profit that gained 5.4 percent as improving domestic and Australian units offset the effect of a weaker Singapore dollar.

Net income rose to S$872 million ($689 million) in the three months ended December from S$827 million a year earlier, SingTel, as the Singapore-based company is known, said in a statement today.

SingTel added new digital businesses, including mobile advertising, as it revamped its Optus division in Australia and mobile operations in Singapore to increase profitability amid slowing revenue growth. The company, which gets less than half its sales from its home market, is expanding in faster-growing Asian markets, including increasing its stake in Bharti Airtel Ltd.

“Going forward, we will focus on driving customer growth in Australia,” Chief Executive Officer Chua Sock Koong said in the statement. The Australian Optus unit has added just 22,000 net mobile customers over the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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