Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) hailed the results of its aggressive expansion as contributions from investments around the region more than doubled in the second quarter, helping it offset greater competition at home. But the state-linked company posted a lower than expected 10.1 per cent gain in the three months to September of S$415 million (about HK$1.83 billion) on Thursday compared with the preceding quarter. Year on year, net profit dropped 25.6 per cent. An average of analysts' forecasts had pointed to second-quarter net profit of S$541 million, including a one-off gain of S$228 million from the sale of a Dutch mobile operator by SingTel's Belgian affiliate, Belgacom. 'Our international investments have transformed SingTel's financial profile and we now derive more than 60 per cent of our proportionate revenues from outside Singapore,' said SingTel chief executive Lee Hsien Yang. 'As a result, we remain well positioned for above-average growth despite the slower than expected recovery in the Singapore economy.' SingTel, now the region's largest telecoms operator outside China and Japan, has poured billions of dollars into acquiring stakes or subsidiaries across Asia, including last year's purchase of Australia's Cable & Wireless Optus. Other investments in its stable have included minority stakes in Indonesia's Telekomunikasi Selular Indonesia; Bharti Televentures in India; Advanced Info Service in Thailand and Globe Telecom in the Philippines. SingTel now claims an aggregate subscriber base of 29 million for the just-completed second quarter, four million up on the figure for the preceding three-month period. For the second quarter, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) rose 19.1 per cent to S$1.39 billion compared with the three months to June. Operating revenue rose 0.1 per cent to S$2.46 billion. Singapore's largest listed company said contributions from joint ventures and associate companies increased by more than double to S$388 million. Losses at 100 per cent-held Optus, Australia's second-largest player, narrowed to A$34 million (about HK$148.57 million) for the second quarter against A$42 million in the June quarter. Operational ebitda for Telstra climbed 15.3 per cent to A$322 million amid a continued clampdown on costs. 'The focus on cost control over the last year has been successful and we are now seeing the rewards on the bottom line,' Optus chief executive Chris Anderson said. 'We expect to see substantially reduced losses for the year as a whole.' Net debt rose 11.36 per cent over the first quarter to S$10.36 billion, pushing the gearing to 41.5 per cent from 37.7 per cent. SingTel was cautious about its main home market, with the macro-economic environment deteriorating after the mild recovery earlier this year, while competition remained intense. It said operating revenue would probably shrink over the full year.