China Telecom Corporation Limited (hereinafter “China Telecom” or the “Company”) (Stock Code on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange: 728) (Stock Code on the New York Stock Exchange: CHA) announces its 2018 annual results today in Hong Kong.
In 2018, the Company firmly grasped the opportunities arising from the development of digital economy, and rode on the tide by leveraging the accurate insight into market trends and customer demands. The Company adhered to the new development principles and carried out supply-side structural reforms. The Company responded effectively to the complicated and challenging external environment, as well as increasingly fierce competition, achieving new breakthroughs in expanding its business scale while firmly elevating its corporate value, thereby reaching a new high in terms of overall competitiveness and market position. Over the past year, the Company deepened its implementation of step-up transformation while promoting reform and innovation on all fronts. The Company also proactively prospected the landscape for 5G development and built all-rounded competitive advantages. The Company accelerated the development of new impetus, deeply incentivised corporate vitality, strove to break new ground in terms of high-quality development, and remained committed to creating new value for shareholders.
In 2018, operating revenues of the Company amounted to RMB377.1 billion, of which, service revenues amounted to RMB350.4 billion, representing an increase of 5.9% compared to last year (if excluding the impact of the application of International Financial Reporting Standard 15 during the year under review, it represented an increase of 7.2% over last year), with revenue growth having surpassed the industry average for many consecutive years. Revenues from emerging businesses accounted for 51.9% of service revenues, representing an increase of nearly 6 percentage points compared to last year following a continual optimisation of the revenue structure. EBITDA reached RMB104.2 billion, representing an increase of 2.0% over the same period last year. Net profit amounted to RMB21.2 billion, representing an increase of 13.9% compared to last year, while basic earnings per share were RMB0.262, achieving rapid growth. Capital expenditure was RMB74.9 billion, representing a decrease of 15.5% compared to last year, the third consecutive annual decline. Free cash flow reached RMB22.5 billion, representing a remarkable increase compared to last year.
Taking shareholder returns into consideration, alongside the Company’s profitability, cash flow level and capital requirement for future development, the Board of Directors has decided to recommend at the forthcoming shareholders’ meeting that a final dividend equivalent to HK$0.125 per share for the year 2018 be declared, representing an 8.7% increase over the year 2017. Going forward, the Company will continue to create shareholder value, while fully balancing the cash flow required for the long-term development of the Company with returns to shareholders.
President Ke pointed out that, at present, the national economy has entered a stage of high- quality development, which is accelerating the conversion of old impetus into new ones. New technologies represented by 5G and AI are integrating and evolving, enabling them to support supply-side structural reform, which will lead to a rapid expansion of potential value for digital economy. As the next generation infrastructure, 5G network will become ever more intertwined with applications and telecom operators will play an increasingly pivotal role in the information communications industry. The Company will actively explore commercial applications of various new technologies, accelerate the development of operation mechanisms that are adapted for 5G, and capitalise on its advantages to promote ecological services ahead of time. Recently, China Telecom was awarded the 3.5GHz band to conduct nationwide 5G network trials. Leveraging the advantages of the 5G mainstream frequency band and insisting on open cooperation, the Company will accelerate 5G deployment proactively and pragmatically. Persisting in a market-oriented and demand-driven approach, the Company will appropriately manage the momentum, propel the development of non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA) concurrently, and progressively expand the scale of network trials and the pilot project of 2B/2C applications.
Whilst the vigorous development of digital economy has presented historical opportunities, the Company is clearly aware that its future external environment is becoming complicated and challenging. While the macro economy is facing downward pressure, cross-industry and homogeneous competition is also becoming increasingly intense. As a result, transforming development model and pursuing high-quality development have now become the Company’s top priorities. Persisting in the principle of new development and supply-side structural reforms, the Company will accelerate its advancement towards high-quality development, and proactively fulfill the requirements of “Speed Upgrade and Tariff Reduction”. With scale development as the foundation and value management as the core, the Company will continuously push forward with “cloudification” and accelerate ecological endowment. The Company will build a “Trinity” value management system, featuring convergence, integration and intelligentisation, for high-quality development, while marching towards becoming a leading integrated intelligent information services provider and constantly creating new value for shareholders.
For further information, please browse the Company’s website at: www.chinatelecom-h.com.
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