Operating Expenses Hurt Chunghwa's Earnings

Fourth quarter earnings dropped 18.9% for the Taiwanese telecom company.
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On March 30, 2009,

Chunghwa Telecom

(CHT) - Get Report

reported an 18.9% drop in its Q4 FY08 earnings, impacted by an increase in operating expenses and impairment loss on assets. Net loss was North Taiwanese Dollar (NT$) 8.49 billion or NT$0.82 per American depository share (ADS) compared to NT$10.46 billion or NT$1.01 per ADS in Q4 FY07.

Revenue grew marginally to NT$46.72 billion from NT$46.39 billion in the prior year's quarter. Segment-wise, revenue from the Internet and Data segment was 2.6% higher than the same period last year. However, Mobile revenue decreased 1.4%, mainly due to a decrease in traffic, whereas Mobile VAS revenue increased 19.8%. Furthermore, Fixed Line revenue inched down 2.4% year-over-year. Meanwhile, the company had 322,000 net additions to its 3G subscriber base, an increase of 9.9% quarter-over-quarter, resulting in a total number of 3G subscribers of 3.56 million as of December 31, 2008.

During Q4 FY08, Chunghwa secured the right to sell Apple Inc.'s 3G iPhone in Taiwan. It also signed a deal with Warner Music Taiwan and Waner's pop diva Jolin Tsai to make inroads into the digital music market. Additionally, Chunghwa, China Unicom Ltd. and KDDI Corp. plan to jointly build a $500.00 million undersea cable called APCN3. Moreover, So-net Entertainment Corp. formed an operational alliance with Chunghwa to expand its internet services. Chunghwa will acquire a 30.0% stake in So-net for Japanese Yen 170.00 million. Recently, it announced a cash dividend of NT$3.83 per share.

Chunghwa's net sales for FY08 increased marginally to NT$186.78 billion from NT$186.33 billion in the previous year. However, net earnings slipped 6.7% to NT$45.01 billion or NT$4.63 per share from NT$48.25 billion or NT$4.93 per share in FY07.

Going forward, CHT expects its capital expenditure to remain in between NT$30.00 billion to NT$32.00 billion over the next 2 to 3 years.