Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the nation’s largest telecoms operator, saw its first-quarter net income rise 0.7 percent year-on-year to NT$10.8 billion (US$321 million), or NT$1.11 earnings per share, thanks mainly to an increase in non-operating income and a decrease in taxes.
Revenue fell 3.6 percent to NT$49.1 billion from a year earlier on the back of the global economic downturn and increased competition, Chunghwa said in a press release.
The Taipei-based company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell 10.7 percent to NT$23.4 billion in the first three months of the year when compared with the same period last year due to falling revenues and rising operating expenses. Its EBITDA margin was 47.6 percent for the quarter, down from 51.3 percent a year ago, the statement said.
Chunghwa chairman and chief executive officer Lu Shyue-ching (呂學錦) said the firm faced an “adverse economic situation” in the first quarter.
Of Chunghwa’s major revenue generators, revenues at its mobile business decreased 3.1 percent year-on-year to NT$17.6 billion in the first quarter, despite the number of subscribers rising 2.9 percent from a year ago, and value-added services revenues increase by 18.5 percent compared with the same period last year.
Internet and data revenues, meanwhile, dropped 0.5 percent year-on-year to NT$12.5 billion because of the tariff cuts on ISP and ADSL services, Chunghwa said.
The company did not provide full-year guidance for 2009, but instead offered guidance on a quarterly basis, which Lu said was because of “the current global economic environment, decreased visibility and increased market volatility.”
On its outlook for the April to June period, Chunghwa forecast a pretax profit of NT$14.03 billion, or NT$1.11 earnings per share, on NT$45.6 billion in revenues. EBITA would reach NT$22.98 billion with an EBITA margin of 50.41 percent, the company forecast.
Capital expenditure is likely to reach NT$7.3 billion in the second quarter after the company spent NT$4.7 billion in the first, it added.
Chunghwa shares rose 2.7 percent at NT$61.3 on the TAIEX yesterday. Chunghwa announced on Tuesday that it would return NT$9.7 billion in cash to shareholders by paying NT$0.909 per share as part of recapitalization.