Optus headcount drops by more than 500 in a year

Optus headcount drops by more than 500 in a year

The latest quarterly financials reveal headcount downgrade.

Optus shed its total headcount by more than 500 people between the quarter ending June last year, and the corresponding three months ending June this year, according to the latest financials by the company’s Singaporean parent, Singtel.

The year-on-year contraction in headcount represents a six per cent decrease.

The latest figures also show that, since the last quarter, ending March, the company has seen its headcount drop by approximately 263 people. 

The headcount reduction comes as little surprise, with Optus flagging plans in April to cut more than 300 jobs across a range of business areas as part of its ongoing strategic direction.

At the same time, Singtel and its other subsidiaries’ total headcount has, in fact, gone up, with the company claiming around 380 more staff as at the end of June this year than it did at the end of June 2016.

Meanwhile, the latest financials reveal that Optus reported a net profit of $171 million for the quarter, a slight dip from the $173 million it recorded the quarter a year ago.

Its underlying net profit also took a tumble from the same time last year, dropping 3.2 per cent year-on-year – from $194 million to $188 million.

Optus attributed this to an increase in depreciation and amortisation from network investments and net finance expenses.

But other numbers for the telco looked healthy. Optus reported increased earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), from $645 million to $662 million (up 2.6 per cent).

According to Optus, this was underpinned by growth in its mobile and fixed businesses.

Specifically, it added over 54,000 postpaid subscribers that quarter, with postpaid handset average revenue per user (ARPU) improving 1.8 per cent excluding Device Repayment Plan (DRP) credits.

The number of 4G mobile customers increased by 85,000 this quarter, resulting in the total 4G customer base increasing to 5.88 million as at 30 June. Optus said that 4G Plus customers now account for 60 per cent of its total mobile customer base.

Optus continued investment into its mobile network this quarter, reaching 96.4 per cent of 4G population coverage. Optus reaffirmed its intention to spend $1 billion to enhance capacity and 4G coverage by another 500 sites in regional Australia by the end of June 2018.

In Consumer Mass Market Fixed, its operating revenue grew 13.2 per cent, mainly on higher NBN migration and NBN customer growth of 143,000 from a year ago. Excluding NBN migration and preparation fees, this revenue grew 4.4 per cent.

Optus’ operating revenue increased 4.8 per cent to $2.09 billion, as a result of higher mobile and NBN revenues, partially offset by the decline in wholesale fixed revenues.

As for Optus Business, it reported a stable EBITDA, and revenue of $380 million.

Optus CEO, Allen Lew, reaffirmed the company’s investment in the network.

“Our first quarter result is built on consistent investment in our network and the creation of content and new services that resonate with customers, with the promise of more to come. Our regional and metropolitan network investment strategy is delivering positive momentum for our business,” he said.

For Singtel as a whole, its Group Enterprise revenue was up one per cent as growth in ICT services partially offset the decline in traditional carriage services. ICT revenues rose by six per cent, bolstered by demand for managed services and NCS’ wins in infrastructure projects and services, according to Singtel.  

Singtel added that ICT services now contribute to 44 per cent of Group Enterprise revenue and that EBITDA dipped one per cent as a result of lower contributions from carriage services and continued investments in ICT and cyber security capabilities.

Optus also recently committed to a $20 million investment to improve its mobile network across the Gold Coast in preparation for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

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