PLDT Nets P10.4 B in Q1, Up 21%

Article excerpt

Core net income, net of these exceptional items, rose to P9.3 billion in the first three months of 2008, 11 percent over the core net income of P8.4 billion in the comparative period.

PLDT Chairman Manuel Pangilinan said soaring inflation appears to have had a minor impact on consumer spending in the first quarter, although it remains a concern.

"Our sustained growth in the first quarter indicates that the teeth of inflation and rising prices have yet to bite deeply into our business," Manuel Pangilinan, chairman of PLDT, said in a statement. "Nonetheless, we realize that a global slowdown will undoubtedly take its toll on all businesses eventually."

Although the peso appreciated by 16 percent, negatively affecting as much as 36 per-cent of the group's sales, PLDT's consolidated service revenues went up 6 percent year-on year to P34.9 billion.

Wireless service revenues increased 8 percent to P22.5 billion; fixed service revenues, by 4 percent to P12.4 billion and ePLDT service revenues, by 6 percent to P2.6 billion.

The PLDT Group's total cellular subscriber base continued to grow strongly as Smart Communication Inc. added 280,000 subscribers; Pilipino Telephone Co.'s Talk 'N Text, 1.25 million subscribers to end the period with 20.6 million and 11 million subscribers, respectively, or a total of 31.6 million.

As at end-April 2008, the PLDT Group's cellular subscriber base had surpassed the 32 million mark.

"Smart continues to hold 55 per cent market share and 59 percent revenue market share for mobile," according to Napoleon L. Nazareno, President and CEO of PLDT and Smart.

Consolidated Earnings Before Income Tax, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) improved 7 percent to P21.8 billion while EBITDA margin improved slightly to 63 percent.

The Group's consolidated balance sheet continued to strengthen, with consolidated debt balances down to US$ 1.6 billion. Net debt as of end of the first quarter stood at US$ 406 million (equivalent to US$ 967 million if the P23.4 billion representing the common dividend payment due in April 2008 were deducted from outstanding cash balances).

Consolidated free cash flow stood at P17.3 billion in the first quarter of 2008. Consolidated capital expenditures totaled P3.1 billion, with spending expected to accelerate as the company continues to build out capacity and coverage of its wireless and broadband networks aggressively.

PLDT allocated P25.4 billion capital expenditure for 2008, approximating its 2007 spending. Almost 60 per cent of the amount was earmarked for wireless, 35 per cent for fixed line and 6 per cent for Information Communication Technology (ICT).

"Despite the increasingly difficult economic environment, Smart sustained its strong subscriber numbers as we persevered with our efforts at finding creative solutions and meet our markets' needs," Nazareno noted.

Smart Bro, Smart's wireless broadband service through its wholly-owned subsidiary Smart Broadband, Inc -- showed no signs of slowing down as its wireless broadband subscriber base grew 14 percent for the quarter to reach 348,000 at endMarch 2008, adding 46,000 new subscribers for the quarter. …