Singapore's Singtel said on Thursday that annual net profit declined to S$554 million, the lowest profit level in two decades, on the back of the coronavirus pandemic.
Singtel, which is Southeast Asia's largest telecom company, said the slide in profit was caused by exceptional losses. This is the lowest level of profits since 1998, the Channel News Asia reported.
Strategy to Focus on 5G
Singtel also laid out a strategy to focus on 5G in the years ago, while also trying to develop new growth engines in information-communication technologies.
Singtel's underlying net profit was down 30 percent year-on-year to S$1.73 billion. Among charges recorded was about S$1.18 billion pertaining to impairments on investments in Amobee and cyber-security business Trustwave.
"Some of our assets are valued at telco multiples today, which we have the potential to be revalued at far higher multiples," Singtel CEO Yuen Kuan Moon said.
He added that this year's results are disappointing given unprecedented headwinds from COVID-19 and ongoing structural challenges.
"The one-time exceptional charge also weighed on our bottom-line number. That said, NCS and our data centre services proved to be bright spots, showing strong growth as enterprises rushed to digitalise and transform their businesses. We will be capitalizing on this mass digitalization with plans for a strategic reset to drive recovery and growth," he added.
The plunge in profits led to a 3.2 percent drop in Singtel share prices on Thursday.
On the positive side, Singtel said equipment sale increased in Singapore and Australia. The company is also it continues to build its 5G network leadership in the country. Days ago Singtel had said it launched its 5G Standalone (SA) network in Singapore.