By Rosalie C. Periabras Reporter
International credit watcher Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Ratings Services has upgraded the credit ratings of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT).
“We are pleased to benefit from the improving economic conditions in the country that resulted in another investment grade rating for the Philippines,” said Manuel Pangilinan, chairman of PLDT.
S&P has upgraded PLDT’s foreign currency corporate credit rating and unsecured credit rating from “BBB-“ to “BBB,” which is one notch above the sovereign rating. The outlook is “stable.” PLDT’s Southeast Asian regional scale rating was also improved from “aXA-“ to “aXA,” also one notch above the sovereign rating.
In a statement, S&P said that, “the rating reflects the company’s strong position in the domestic market, diversified services, integrated network, and solid cash flow measures.”
It added that “the country and macroeconomic risk of the Philippines and intense competition in the mature domestic cellular market temper these strengths.”
S&P on Thursday raised its sovereign credit ratings on the Philippines to investment grade to “BBB-/A-3” from “BB+/B” on the country’s strengthening external profile, moderating inflation, and declining reliance on foreign currency debt.
“The rating reflects the company’s strong position in the domestic market, diversified services, integrated network, and solid cash flow measures,” S&P said.
PLDT earlier, earned the distinction of being the first Philippine corporate to be given investment grade credit ratings by all three major international credit watchers—S&P, Moody’s Investors Services and Fitch Ratings.
PLDT President Napoleon Nazareno said that the S&P upgrade reaffirms the soundness of the company’s business strategy to transform into a fully integrated telco operator offering a complete suite of advanced communications services.
He added that the completion of PLDT’s P67.4-billion network transformation program last year resulted in a super-charged network that is unrivalled in terms of coverage, capacity and resiliency.
PLDT remains the leading player in the local telecoms sector with over 60-percent market share in the cellular, broadband and fixed-line businesses.
“The ratings upgrade should better reflect the potential of the company which is capped by the sovereign ratings,” Pangilinan added.