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SingTel names its financial chief CEO
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2006-09-22 15:58
Singapore Telecommunications Ltd named finance head Chua Sock Koong as chief executive officer yesterday, banking on a 17-year veteran with experience in regional expansion to stem slowing sales growth.

The appointment will take effect on April 1, Southeast Asia's biggest phone company, also known as SingTel, said.

Chua succeeds Lee Hsien Yang, 48, who said on July 21 he is stepping down after 11 years in the company's top position.

Chua expects to make "sensible investments" overseas, including developing markets, building on Lee's strategy to maintain earnings as growth in Australia and Singapore slowed.

Stakes in the biggest cell-phone operators in India and Indonesia lifted SingTel's annual profit 27 percent to S$4.16 billion (US$2.6 billion), while sales growth eased for the fourth straight year.

The appointment "indicates to me that they are not going to bring in new changes" and "that's a little bit worrying," said Paul Budde, who runs market researcher Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd in Australia and has followed the telecommunications industry since 1978.

"SingTel has had a fantastic five years but things are changing rapidly and particularly with Optus, things aren't looking that great anymore," Budde added

Net income at SingTel's Sydney-based Optus unit, which contributes more than two-thirds of sales, more than doubled to A$385 million (US$291 million) in the first quarter to June 30, after a gain on asset sales.

Excluding the gain, profit fell 27 percent to A$109 million, the fifth straight quarterly decline.

"We certainly expect it would not be more of the same," with Chua's appointment, Chairman Chumpol Na Lamlieng told reporters.
Source:Shanghai Daily 
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