SingTel speaks out

The CFO of SingTel replies to our article on the sale of Yellow Pages.

Dear Sir,

I refer to your article on SingTel' s sale of its Yellow Pages business on 3 June.(SingTel sells Yellow Pages, see related articles below)

Your article mentioned that, at our bond issue in November 2001, SingTel "promised its bondholders that it will do all in its power to retain its AA- rating" . This is not correct. What we did was to commit to certain medium term credit targets, specifically a) net debt to EBITDA of 1.5x to 2.0x b) EBITDA to net interest expense of 8x to 10x.

With our FY03 results, we delivered on these targets. Net debt to EBITDA was 1.9x while interest cover was 10.1x. These results were achieved even before the divestments of SingPost and Yellow Pages. We intend to maintain leverage within the target range.

As you pointed out, SingTel is one of the highest rated telecom companies in the world. We remain committed to our strong investment grade credit ratings but we can't control all factors that influence the decisions of independent rating agencies regarding a specific rating (such as S&P 's view on government ownership).

Finally, while you mention S&P' s view on our credit, I thought it would have been useful to provide a more balanced perspective for your readers to know as well that Moody's recently upgraded its outlook for SingTel from negative to stable on our A1 credit rating.

Best regards,

Chua Sock Koong,CFO, SingTel