By Emmie V. Abadilla
Describing 2018 as “a breakthrough year” PLDT, Inc. registered robust growth for all of its main revenue businesses – Home, Enterprise, and Consumer Wireless, netting P19.2-billion earnings, up 44 percent, on P149.4-billion consolidated service revenues, up 5 percent, for the full year versus 2017.
Manuel V. Pangilinan
“It was a satisfactory year for us. Our fixed line, home and enterprise business showed robust growth which should continue in the coming years although (we expect) our international revenues to continue to drop,” according to Manuel V. Pangilinan, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of PLDT and Smart Communications.
“We’re not out of the woods yet but we will never be without issues or challenges,” he underscored. “We are no longer a monopoly but we’d like to restore PLDT to its position as one of the most profitable companies in the Philippines.”
For this reason, PLDT is boosting its capital expenditure (capex) this year by P20 billion, to a total of P78.4 billion from 2018’s P58.5 billion.
The aggressive roll-out is meant to push the telco’s network advantage and support its campaign for more revenues. Of the total, P48 billion will be allocated to its technology and IT platforms; P16 billion goes to customer capex – last mile installations and sales-related expenses.
Another P3 billion-P4 billion will be for the one-time purchase of equipment, such as laptops for the 3,000 people in the telco’s home and enterprise businesses, who will handle customer requests and P2 billion will be for its data center expansion.
“With all cylinders of our revenue engine now firing, we are positioned to throttle into high gear, and do better in 2019,” he remarked.
Last year, PLDT’s consolidated Service Revenues, net of interconnection costs, rose 5% to P149.4 billion in 2018, excluding P1.1 billion of revenues from Voyager Innovations (“Voyager”).
The combined revenues from its main businesses – Home, Enterprise and Consumer Individual – registered a 9% year-on-year increase to P137.4 billion, marking the return of growth in overall service revenues last recorded in 2014.
Each of Enterprise and Home Groups boosted revenues by 10% – to P38.4 billion and P36.4 billion, respectively.
The big upswing came from the Wireless Consumer Group. After several years of Decline, the Wireless business stabilized in 2017, after which it registered a 7% rise in revenues to P62.5 billion in 2018.
Across all business groups, revenue increases were powered by growth in data and broadband. Revenues from data and broadband amounted to P90.2 billion, up 37% year on year, and accounting for 60% of the total.
PLDT’s Consolidated EBITDA amounted to P64.9 billion. Excluding Voyager and Manpower Rightsizing Program (“MRP”) costs, Telco EBITDA was stable at P69.2 billion year on year due mainly to higher service revenues offsetting increases in cash opex, and subsidies and provisions. Telco EBITDA margin stood at 44%.
Consolidated Core Income was P26.2 billion which included gains from PLDT’s loss of control of Voyager and from the sale of Rocket Internet shares offset by accelerated depreciation arising from our aggressive network transformation programs.
Excluding Voyager operations, Telco Core Income rose by 3% to P24.4 billion.
The telco’s reported Net Income reached P19.2 billion, up 44% from 2017, as the amount of network swap out costs in 2018 was much less than the prior year.