iiNet drives profit growth for TPG

March 21, 2017

Internet provider TPG has reported an 11% rise in first-half net profit to $224 million.

Expanding internet provider TPG Telecom is set to report its first-half financial results on Tuesday as analysts keenly await details on its mobile aspirations in Australia and Singapore.

Telecom analysts expect Australia's second biggest fixed-line internet provider after Telstra to lodge a bid in a government-run spectrum auction next month, alongside Optus and Vodafone Hutchison.

If successful, TPG could become the fourth mobile operator in Australia, according to investment bank UBS.

UBS estimates that a metro-centric rollout could cost about $1.5 billion, with the cost dependent on how much spectrum TPG acquires, the extent to which the group builds infrastructure, and whether it could roam onto other networks.

UBS recently initiated coverage of TPG with a neutral recommendation and $6.20 price target.

The stock closed down seven cents to $6.62 on Monday.

In its research note, UBS said the group is "well placed to capitalise on the opportunity" to take market share on the national broadband network but said increased market share is expected to crimp margins.

At the end of 2016, TPG forecast it would spend up to $381 million to become the fourth mobile network operator in Singapore.

TPG has already spent $S105 million ($98.7 million) to buy all of the spectrum available in a recent auction run by the Singapore government's info-communications agency.

TPG booked a net profit of $202.5 million for the six months to January 31, 2016, up 90 per cent from $106.7 million over the same period a year earlier, thanks to its $1.56 billion takeover of rival iiNet.

Its interim earnings jumped 85.1 per cent to $437.3 million, courtesy of a $111 million contribution from iiNet.

TPG completed the iiNet acquisition in September 2015, making it Australia's second biggest fixed-line internet provider, bumping Singapore Telecommunication's local unit, Optus, to third spot.

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