Photo of Ho Ching from Temasek Holdings

Temasek Holdings-owned telecommunication company Starhub announced in a press release yesterday (Oct 3) that 300 employees will be fired in a massive retrenchment. Starhub claimed that the 300 jobs are removed for “operational efficiency”, and that the restructuring cost totalled S$25 million.

In his media address, the CEO of Starhub revealed that its senior executive, chief strategic officer, is also retrenched:

“We have been extremely fortunate to have many competent people in our team including Jeannie, but some positions are not sustainable given the current industry pressures.”

Starhub in recent years have been seeing declining profits, with the latest 2017 financial report showing profits halved from S$514 million in 2015. The poor returns have significantly affected Temasek Holdings’ profits, which the sovereign wealth fund company is heavily dependent on to offset its overseas investment losses. Temasek Holdings, headed by the Prime Minister’s wife Ho Ching, uses government funds to invest, and it is heavily dependent on the Ministry of Finance to finance its portfolio.

In its recent 2018 financial year report, Temasek Holdings chalked up S$49 billion of debt while reporting a “profit” of S$33 billion.

Starhub’s poor performance is expected to worsen following the entrance of Australia’s telecommunication company, TPG. TPG will commence operations by end of this year, offering mobile and internet services to the market dominated by Singapore’s state-owned companies. All three major market players – Singtel, Starhub and M1 – are owned by Temasek Holdings. The three telcos are heavily dependent on lucrative government contracts, with margins surpassing the retail mobile and internet market.