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Airtel pinned for dragging Singtel Q1 down

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Image: Singtel

Singtel Group has reported a slight dip in revenue of SG$21 million to SG$4.1 billion alongside a 2% drop in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) to SG$1.18 billion for its first quarter of fiscal year 2020 to June 30.

Thanks to a SG$162 million exceptional loss by Airtel and increased depreciation, the Singaporean telco has seen its underlying net profit drop by 22% to SG$575 million and net profit fall 35% from SG$832 million to SG$541 million.

The loss by Airtel was related to provisioning for “derivative liabilities relating to customary indemnities provided to a group of investors of Airtel Africa and expenses relating to its listing”, as well as depreciating 3G assets and spectrum refarming.

In March, Singtel parted with SG$735 million to purchase shares in Indian telco Bharti Airtel, however its holding dropped from 39.5% to 35.2% after the share offer.

“The Airtel impact aside, business is stable as we continued to execute to strategy in the first quarter,” Singtel Group CEO Chua Sock Koong said.

“This was achieved against a backdrop of heightened competition, sustained industry headwinds and subdued economic growth.”

For its Singapore consumer segment, overall revenue was down 5% to SG$518 million with fixed revenue dropping 12% to SG$140 million, while mobile service revenue dropped SG$17 million to SG$248 million and equipment sales and leasing increased SG$14 million to SG$117 million.

Singtel now has 2.61 million postpaid customers, up 35,000 since last quarter, and 1.61 pre-paid customers, down 15,000 quarter-on-quarter. Average revenue per user (ARPU) was down across the board, with postpaid ARPU dropping 13% to SG$40 and prepaid ARPU down 7% to SG$17.

The enterprise segment also had a 5% overall revenue drop, recording SG$1.4 billion taken in during the quarter. Singtel cited weaker demand from government and finance customers in Australia, as well as price competition and cautious business environment as reasons for the decline.

The digital life group experienced a 17% jump in revenue to SG$301 million, the vast majority of which was made up of by Amobee.

In terms of EBITDA, consumer grew 0.6% to SG$799 million, enterprise went backwards by 7% to SG$417 million, and digital life cut its loss in half compared to the same time last year, being in the hole for SG$12 million.

From its regional associates, Singtel took in 14% less revenue to record $335 million. This was made up of SG$280 million from Telkomsel in Indonesia, up 18%; Thailand’s AIS was stable at SG$94 million; and Globe in the Philippines was up 4% to SG$98 million. Thai telco Intouch decreased 7% to contribute SG$26 million, while Airtel loss SG$162 million across India, Sri Lanka, and Africa.

Across the group, staff costs were down 7% from SG$677 million to SG$628 million. Optus saw a 20.5% cut in staff costs, while the rest of business had a 2% increase in staff costs. In headcount numbers, Optus staff numbers are down 12.7% to 7,114 at June 30, and the rest of the group has 16,120 staff, down 3%.

See also: Singtel to buy $525M worth of India’s Bharti Airtel shares

During the quarter, net cash outflow was SG$1.26 billion, including the SG$735 million for Airtel shares, as well as SG$202 million in capital expenditure for Singtel, split between SG$49 million on mobile network and SG$153 million on fixed and core infrastructure, and AU$340 million in capital expenditure for Optus split out as AU$235 million on mobile network and AU$105 millioon for fixed and core infrastructure.

For the rest of the fiscal year to 31 March 2020, the company said it is expecting overall revenue to grow by mid-single digit, and EBITDA to increase by high-single digit. Overall capital expenditure is set to hit SG$2.2 billion, with AU$1.4 million to be allocated to Optus.

Last week, ratings agency S&P downgraded its outlook for Singtel to negative.

“We revised the outlook on Singtel to reflect increasing competition in the company’s major operating markets and the concurrent elevated cash needs for capital expenditure and dividend payout,” S&P wrote.

“The outlook revision also reflects the risk of Singtel’s operating metrics deteriorating, or the company undertaking debt-funded investment or spending more than we anticipate.”

S&P said they do not expect the launch of TPG in Singapore to cause a decline in its business.

“We believe Singtel’s SIM-only and GOMO plans have captured more price-sensitive segments of the market,” the ratings agency said.

“Additionally, TPG’s network coverage remains lackluster in a country where consumers are used to almost-seamless connectivity. Unless TPG’s strategy substantially undercuts the market and its network quality improves, TPG may find it difficult to establish a strong foothold in the market.”

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Customers will receive 3GB of mobile for walking 10,000 steps daily for a month.



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2022 Land Rover Defender pricing confirmed – The cost of a V8

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Land Rover has priced up the 2022 Defender, including the new V8 version of the SUV announced earlier this week. The MY22 will kick off at $47,700 (plus destination) for the Defender 90, the distinctive three-door version of the truck, when it arrives in US dealerships come summer 2021. Expect, however, to pay considerably more if you want that supercharged V8 under the hood.

For the 2022 Defender 90, the entry engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4. That delivers 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and is shared by the five-door 2022 Defender 110 which starts at $50,500 plus $1,350 destination. The 2022 Defender 90 S will be $51,100 plus destination, while the Defender 110 S will be $54,000.

Stepping up a powertrain, the 2022 Defender 90 X-Dynamic S and the 2022 Defender 110 SE get the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 mild-hybrid we tested in the Defender 110. That’s good for 395 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. Pricing starts at $59,500 for the three-door and $65,100 for the five-door.

If you won’t settle for anything other than the V8 – and we can’t really argue with you – then prepare to open your wallet much wider. The 2022 Defender 90 V8 starts at $97,200 plus destination, while the 2022 Defender 110 V8 hits six figures, starting at $100,400. Land Rover will also have a Carpathian Edition of both, priced at $104,000 for the three-door and $107,200 for the five-door.

All four variants get the same 5.0-liter supercharged V8. It’s packing 518 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque, and Land Rover says to expect 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds from the Defender 90 V8, and a top speed of 149 mph. Air suspension and an electronic active rear differential are standard, as is a new Dynamic drive mode in the SUV’s Terrain Response system. That prioritizes performance on asphalt and loose surfaces like gravel.

Replacing the old Defender 110 First Edition, meanwhile, is the 2022 Defender 110 XS Edition. Only offered on the five-door version of the SUV, and with the 3.0-liter mild-hybrid six cylinder engine, it’s priced at $71,900 plus destination.

Compared to the regular 110, it comes with special body-color lower cladding and lower wheel arches, around 20-inch, contrast diamond-turned alloy wheels finished in Satin Grey. Inside, there are 12-way heated and ventilated seats in Ebony Grained leather and Robust Woven Textile; Land Rover also throws in the extended leather package, illuminated metal tread plates, and finishes the Cross Car Beam running across the dashboard with a Light Grey powder coat brushed finish.

All 2022 Defender trims get wireless phone charging with a signal booster, and can be optioned with a larger, 11.4-inch curved touchscreen for the Pivi Pro infotainment system. There are also three new exterior design packs – the Bright Pack, Extended Bright Pack, and Extended Black Pack – available on select models.

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Fisker Ocean electric SUV gets a range and power boost promise

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Fisker is promising more range and more power for its Ocean electric SUV than first expected, though the new EV is still a long way from production kicking off. The announcement, part of Fisker’s Q4 2020 financial results, comes on the heels of a new partnership between the automaker and Foxconn to produce the EV that will follow the Ocean.

Announced in early 2019, the Ocean aims to take on cars like Tesla’s Model Y with an affordable price tag and family practicality. Also taking a note out of Elon Musk’s playbook is the reservations process: they opened for the Ocean EV all the way back in November 2019, even though Fisker didn’t confirm pricing for the sub-$38k car until the following January.

If you put down a reservation, meanwhile, you’ll still have some time to wait. Fisker expects initial production to kick off in Q4 2022, with automotive industry heavyweight Magna handling building the Ocean in Europe. However full production isn’t expected to ramp up until sometime in 2023.

At least you’ll know you’re getting a more capable electric SUV than Fisker first promised. The automaker now expects the EV to be able to drive 350+ miles on a charge, at least for the Ultra Long Range version of Ocean. That’s up from the 300+ mile estimate initially shared.

0-60 mph performance, meanwhile, is expected to now be in the ballpark of sub-4.0 seconds, for all but the base version of the SUV. “These specifications are meaningfully above our initial targets and are expected to support overall vehicle performance consistent with the segment leaders at launch,” Fisker said today.

The Magna partnership will also involve co-developing the Ocean’s active driver assistance systems (ADAS), which have been dubbed Fisker-Intelligent Pilot ADAS / AV. They’ll include cameras and radar which will be fitted to every Ocean trim, and serve “as a platform to deliver unique software-based safety, anti-annoyance, and entertainment features.”

Reservations currently stand at 12,467, Fisker says. Of those, more than 70-percent of would-be Ocean buyers apparently drive an internal combustion engine vehicle, Fisker says.

As for the Foxconn partnership, details there are still scant. The vehicle is expected to go into production as soon as Q4 2023, with the two companies suggesting a highly-aggressive 24 month development process. There’s no word on how much it may cost, nor what sort of vehicle it may be – though a design sketch suggested a smaller crossover to slot in underneath the Ocean in size – but sales ambitions are high, with Fisker projecting 250,000 annual volumes when the EV reaches full production.

Still, building up a car company is expensive. In Q4 2020, Fisker says, net losses totaled $12 million.

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Carrol Shelby’s personal 1966 Cobra 427 Super Snake is going to auction (again!)

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Carrol Shelby was not only an iconic automotive designer, racing driver, and entrepreneur. Expectedly, the guy is a huge car nut and owns an impressive lineup of vintage classics, like the car you see here.

This dreamy blue Cobra roadster is a 1966 427 Super Snake from the late Carrol Shelby’s personal collection. What’s more, Shelby only built two examples of this car and is the last surviving model after the other vehicle was sold and eventually wound up crashing in the ocean.

This particular CSX 3015 Super Snake has genuine racing genes. It started as a full-blown 427 Cobra Competition racing car. In 1967, it underwent a mild transformation to being a road-legal semi-competition vehicle by refitting the windscreen. No kidding.

For the past 15 years, this particular 1966 Cobra 427 has exchanged hands twice at various auction blocks. It first sold at a Barret Jackson auction in 2007 for a staggering $5.5-million with Carrol Shelby himself in attendance. Seven years on, it was back at Barret Jackson and sold for $5.1-million in January 2015.

Shelby Cobras demand astronomical price tags at auction houses. The first Cobra built by Carrol Shelby – the CSX 2000 – sold for a staggering $13.5-million at RM Sotheby’s in 2016. Shelby owned the car from 1962 until he died in 2012. Most recently, the ‘big brother’ of CSX 2000 (known as CSX 3178 in Shelby’s inner circle) sold for $5.49-million in January 2021.

If you want the Mecca of vintage Shelby cars, this 1966 Cobra 427 Super Snake is pushing all the right buttons. Under the hood lies an angry twin-supercharged 7.0-liter V8 motor producing 800 horsepower and generous servings of tire-shredding torque. This ’66 Cobra has the looks, the power, and the provenance to merit sums of cash.

Are you looking to own a significant piece of automotive history? This gorgeous 1966 Cobra 427 Super Snake is again heading to Barret Jackson’s Scottsdale auction this March. Prepare your wallets and checkbooks.

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