PLDT earns P10.6B; capex may top P85-B guidance

PLDT, Inc.’s third-quarter net income attributable to the equity holders increased 79% to P10.64 billion from P5.93 billion in the same period last year as “consumers thrived on their digital lifestyles in the new normal,” the company’s chief executive officer said.

Service revenues for the period reached P49.40 billion, up 5% from P46.87 billion in the same period in 2021, PLDT officials reported during a briefing on Thursday. Non-service revenues rose around 56% to P2.13 billion from P1.37 billion previously.

In the third quarter, the company said that its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) grew 2% to P25 billion compared with the same period last year.

For the January-to-September period, the company saw its net income attributable to the equity holders increase 45% to P27.38 billion from P18.85 in the same period last year.

Total revenues for the period went up 6% to P152.92 billion from P143.86 billion in the previous year.

Consolidated EBITDA for the period increased by 6% or P4.3 billion to P75.4 billion. EBITDA margin was at 51%.

PLDT Chief Financial Officer Anabelle L. Chua said the company’s consolidated EBITDA is trending to cross P100 billion for the full year despite the “stressful economic conditions.”

The company’s telco core income, which excludes the impact of asset sales and Voyager Innovations, rose 10% or P2.3 billion to P25.4 billion.

“Enterprise seems to be our bright spot as we continue to empower businesses in their digital transformation and help promote the Philippines to be the next major ASEAN digital hub. Our 11th and, by far, largest data center is also on track to be completed in late 2023,” said Alfredo S. Panlilio, PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc. president and chief executive officer.

“Meanwhile, PLDT Home continues to grow despite increasing challenges to people’s wallets due to continuing high inflation and the prolonged impact of typhoon Odette,” he noted.

“We are aware of the headwinds that we face, and certainly, this will not be the last time we will encounter challenges,” he said. “What is key here is that while we continue to drive revenues by responding to our customers’ needs, we are trying to put discipline in place by focusing on strong efforts to control our operational expenses and improve operating efficiencies.”

Mr. Panlilio likewise said the company is currently reviewing its consolidated capital expenditure (capex) for 2022, “which could exceed the initial capex guidance of P85 billion.”

“Once the review is completed PLDT will issue a separate disclosure on the matter.”

PLDT is watching its capex levels, especially the impact of the weakening peso on its dollar-denominated debts and imported capex, and even capex committed in previous years and current ones, Mr. Panlilio said.

“With the disciplined effort led by our transformation office, we are trying to manage some softness in our topline, as well as tightly control our costs.”

PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said: “At this time that the consumer wallet is diminished — when consumer income is under threat and government finances are challenged — investments will emerge as a primary recovery tool. Hence, investments are needed, both by the government and the private sector to drive the economy forward.”

“The supreme task of nation-building is one that the group is very serious about. We help as many people as we can, especially those below the line of poverty, in partnership with government,” he said.

PLDT shares closed 2.13% lower at P1,608 apiece on Thursday.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin