Singapore telco M1 announces SG$90m profit for H1 2015

M1 has announced its results for the first half of 2015, with growth in its net profit, fixed services, and customer base.

Singapore's third-largest telecommunications company, M1, has released its results for the half year ended June 30, 2015, announcing a net profit after tax of SG$90 million, an increase of 3.8 percent year on year, with service revenue of SG$408.6 million.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) for H1 were SG$166.9 million, a 1.4 percent increase from the same period last year. Mobile telecommunications revenue increased by 0.4 percent year on year to SG$333.1 million.

Revenue from fixed services grew by 18 percent, to SG$39.5 million, with the telco adding 6,000 fibre customers during April to June, bringing its base to 114,000. M1 CEO Karen Kooi Lee Wah attributed this growth to higher fibre uptake in the corporate sector.

"With our appointment as key sub-contractor for NetLink Trust and an expanded range of cloud-based solutions, we are better placed to service our corporate customers. We will continue to build on this momentum and grow our share in this segment," Kooi said when announcing results on Monday.

Handset sales, at SG$72.7 million for the second quarter of 2015, grew by 136.7 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago.

M1 added 13,000 customers during Q2, growing its total mobile base to 1.88 million as of June 30. M1 reported an overall mobile market share of 23.1 percent, down slightly from last year's 24.1 percent.

In 2014, while the company gained approximately 19,000 new post-paid customers for its mobile service, it lost around 276,000 prepaid customers as a consequence of regulatory changes that came into effect in April 2014. This resulted in its overall customer base being driven down by 12.2 percent.

In January this year, M1 was excused from having to pay a fine for a service outage during February 2014 by Singapore's IT regulator Infocomm Development Authority (IDA). M1 was found to not have been culpable for the service disruption, as it was caused by an "unknown" software bug in the call-processing software that was "not within M1's control", IDA said in a statement.

In April this year, the telco revealed that it had handed over customer information to Dallas Buyers Club in response to a High Court order, after it was alleged that these users had illegally downloaded the Academy Award-winning movie Dallas Buyers Club. M1 supplied the names, mailing addresses, and NRIC numbers of these customers.

Dallas Buyers Club has also been successful in its bid in Australia to obtain the details of 4,726 users who allegedly illegally downloaded copies of the film. However, the Australian Federal Court ordered the film studio to provide a copy of the letter it intends to send to copyright infringers for court approval before the customer information is provided.

In the US, alleged copyright infringers have been asked to either compensate Dallas Buyers Club's parent company Voltage by up to $9,000, or potentially have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages under court order.

M1 was launched in 1997, becoming the second telco in Singapore after Singtel. Its board announced an interim dividend of SG7 cents per share.