PLDT earns P17 B on P94 B revenues for H1

Published August 4, 2022, 2:57 PM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

Despite tough economic conditions, PLDT Inc. hauled in ₱94.3 billion in consolidated service revenues (net of interconnection costs) in the first half of 2022, up 5 percent versus the same period last year.

Telco Core Income, excluding the impact of asset sales and Voyager Innovations, reached ₱17.0 billion, up 12 percent or ₱1.8 billion from the same period last year.

Reported Income soared by ₱3.8 billion or 30 percent to ₱16.7 billion.

So far, PLDT is on track to meet its 2022 targets with service revenues expected to post a mid-single digit growth, Alfredo S. Panlilio, PLDT and Smart President and CEO, noted in Thursday’s (Aug. 4) virtual press briefing.

“Home broadband will lead this growth, with Enterprise also expected to register stronger performance, underpinned by ICT. And although Wireless faces tough market conditions, it should benefit from the continued opening up of the economy,” he elaborated.

For his part, PLDT Chairman Manuel V Pangilinan expects PLDT to outperform, against a very challenging environment.

“We expect stronger headwinds in the second half, with higher inflation impacting our customers’ pockets as well as our own operating costs,” he maintained.

“With so much pressure on growth, it is imperative that we stay focused on our strategic initiatives and managing costs.”

“As to full year profit guidance, we maintain Telco Core Income at ₱33.0 billion, albeit some upside may be possible as portions of proceeds from the Towers sale are used to pay down debts in the second half,” Pangilinan noted.

In the second quarter of 2022, PLDT’s Consolidated Service Revenues grew by 6 percent to ₱47.9 billion, showing robust growth despite more difficult market conditions as the Company notched a fifth quarter of sequential improvements.

Sustained quarter-on-quarter growth in data and broadband, which grew by 10 percent or ₱6.6 billion to ₱74.9 billion in the first half, contributed 79 percent to consolidated service revenues.

Consolidated EBITDA in the first six months grew 8 percent or ₱3.9 billion year-on-year to ₱50.5 billion, another all-time high, crossing the ₱100-billion mark for the last 12-month period.

EBITDA margin was at 52 percent in the first half of 2022, from 51 percent the previous year.

Consolidated Net Debt as of the first half of 2022 amounted to US$3.9 billion while netdebt-to-EBITDA stood at 2.16x.

Gross Debt was at US$4.8 billion, with maturities well spread out. Only 16 percent of Gross Debt are denominated in US dollars and 5 percent are unhedged. PLDT maintained its credit ratings from Moody’s and S&P Global at investment grade.

In April, PLDT announced the signing of Sale and Purchase Agreements in connection with the sale of 5,907 telecom towers and related passive telecom infrastructure, the largest ever acquisition of assets in the Philippines by international investors.

Following this, PLDT announced on 1st June that its subsidiaries Smart and Digitel Mobile Philippines, Inc. have successfully achieved First Closing by completing the sale of 3,012 telecom towers, representing more than half of the towers being monetized.

The corresponding cash consideration of approximately ₱39.2 billion has been received.

The Second Closing was concluded on 1st August with the completion of the sale of 1,013 towers, with the corresponding cash consideration of ₱13.2 billion also received.

The Group has to date completed the sale of 4,025 telecom towers representing 68 percent of the towers portfolio subject to the sale.

PLDT’s gain on the First Closing stood at ₱12.6 billion in the first half of the year. PLDT anticipates additional closings over the next few months based on the number of towers being transferred. Final closing is expected by 4th qtr 2022.

Earlier today, the Board of Directors declared an interim regular dividend of ₱47 per share, representing 60 percent of first half 2022 telco core income in line with PLDT’s dividend policy.

Add to this, the board declared a special dividend of ₱28 per share, resulting from the proceeds of the towers sale.

Record date is set for 18th August 2022, while payment date is on 5thSeptember 2022.

Another ₱3 billion of special dividends in connection with the towers sale will be declared together with the final dividend for 2022.

As for PLDT’s flagship revenue earners, home broadband use remained robust with customers sustaining the hybrid model of work and study from home set-ups, PLDT Home’s fiber-only service revenues grew 62 percent or ₱8.9 billion to ₱23.2 billion for the first half of 2022.

This drove total Home service revenues to ₱28.1 billion, up 24percent or ₱5.4 billion year-on-year for the first half of the year.

Fiber-only revenues account for 82 percent of total Home revenues, up from 63 percent from a year ago.

Home added more than 401,000 net fiber subscribers in the first half of the year, bringing total fixed broadband subscribers to 3.2 million, on the back of continued strong customer demand and unparalleled network quality.

In the first half of the year, total fiber capacity further increased by 16 percent to 6.72 million ports, as homes passed grew 17 percent to 16.2 million.

In the first half of the year, PLDT added 950,000 ports out of the total 1.7 million target for the full year. PLDT’s fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) is present in 65 percent of the country’s cities and municipalities.

On the other hand, PLDT Enterprise’s service revenues grew 9 percent or ₱1.9 billion year-on-year to ₱23.2 billion in the first half, driven mostly by the return of business activities with the gradual reopening of the economy.

In the second quarter alone, revenues hit ₱11.6 billion, up 11percent or ₱1.2 billion compared with the same period last year, spurred by focused on-line and on-ground digital transformation initiatives.

To serve the growing demand for content and cloud consumption to serve hyperscalers, PLDT Enterprise also accelerated its readiness in capacity, capabilities and infrastructure.

PLDT, through its ICT arm ePLDT, is leading the capacity build with the construction of its eleventh and largest hyperscale data center to-date—the VITRO Sta. Rosa.

VITRO Sta. Rosa, with a total power capacity of 50MW, is the first in the series of planned hyperscale Data Center builds to total over 100MW.

As for its Individual Wireless business, PLDT revenues hit ₱41.2 billion. In the second quarter alone, revenues were at ₱20.9 billion, up 2 percent or ₱0.5 billion from the previous quarter, boosted by the return of mobility and economic activity, the continued refinement of plans and load packages to address consumer preferences and usage patterns, and Smart’s network advantage in terms of quality.

Mobile data traffic reached 2,081 petabytes in the first half, up 32 percent from the same period last year.

Average monthly mobile data usage per subscriber reached 8.7 gigabytes, 20 percent higher than the monthly average for 2021. Active data users reached 41.9 million in the first half of the year.

Meanwhile, data traffic on Smart’s 5G network in the second quarter grew 133 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2021, as the number of unique 5G devices on the network breached the 2 million mark, growing 80 percent from end-2021.

The increase in data traffic is on the back of enhanced mobile data offers and promos.

Underpinning these services are PLDT’s fixed and wireless networks. As of end-June, PLDT has expanded its fiber footprint to 837,900 kilometers, up 13 percent from end-2021.

Further boosting PLDT’s domestic fiber network is the US-Transpacific Jupiter cable system, anticipated to increase PLDT’s international capacity by 40 Terabit/s, to a total of about 60 Terabit/s to the US and Japan.

Market share of PLDT in terms of international cable capacity stands at more than 60 percent.

PLDT’s investment in expanding its network to reach more Filipinos brought total first half capex spending to ₱46.0 billion. Capex guidance for the whole of 2022 is ₱85 billion.