Enterprise and cyber make up for StarHub first quarter declines in mobile and pay TV

Overall revenue was up, but so were overall expenses for the Singaporean telco.

StarHub reported a mixed first quarter on Friday, with increasing revenues from its enterprise, network solutions, and cyber businesses offset by declines in mobile and pay TV.

Overall revenue grew by 6% year-on-year to SG$597 million, while operating expenses increased by 9.4% to SG$525 million, giving a decrease in profit after tax and minority interests of 14% to SG$54 million, and a 23% drop in net profit after tax to SG$49 million.

Broken out by business unit, enterprise revenue increased by 14% to SG$134 million, mobile contributed SG$192 million as it declined by 5.3%, pay TV was down 12% year on year to SG$71 million, broadband was steady at SG$47 million, while sales of equipment jumped by one third to SG$152 million.

For the enterprise business, data and internet revenue was down 1.8% to SG$70 million, network solutions grew 9% to SG$108 million, cyber security receipts were up 41% and contributed SG$26.4 million, managed services jumped by 44% to SG$26 million, while voice services saw 23% growth and posted SG$11.6 million.

In terms of customer numbers, the telco saw a 5.4% increase to 1.44 million post-paid mobile customers, pre-paid fell from 918,000 to 789,000 customers, broadband recorded 495,00 customers, while Pay TV had 394,000 customers after 55,000 left for "alternative sources of content and entertainment".

For the first quarter to March 31, StarHub spent SG$54.4 million on staff costs, SG$7.4 million less due to a reduced headcount.

"Whilst we are pursuing our fair market share, we are also addressing our operating cost structure for our core mobile and data connectivity businesses. Overall, our service EBITDA margin increased to 33.7% YoY," StarHub CEO Peter Kaliaropoulos said.

"However, as cybersecurity operations require considerable resources to deliver growth, the higher operational expenditure from Ensign coupled with decline in revenues for Mobile and Pay TV services and higher depreciation, resulted in NPAT at $49 million, a 23% decline YoY. Excluding the impact of cyber security services, NPAT would be $61 million for Q1."

For the 2019 full year, the company said it would see up to a 2% decline in revenue.

Last year, StarHub reported net profit dropping by 27% to SG$201 million, and revenue going down by 2% to SG$2.36 billion.

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