PLDT ‘may consider’ higher capex for 2018

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PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said on Thursday the company may “consider” a higher capital expenditure (capex) for next year to address criticisms on the country’s internet quality.

Asked about the company’s capex program for 2018, Pangilinan said PLDT has two choices–to keep capex spending at the current level or to allocate a higher budget in order to respond to the consumers’ clamor for quality internet connectivity.

“One is to go for the normative level of capex, which will probably be un the area of P46 to P48 billion for 2018, or do we push it farther than that because we want to have an affirmative response to the criticisms being leveled against the industry, like the service is lousy. You know, I think we may have to at least consider that,” he said during a briefing on PLDT’s nine-month earnings results in Makati City.

Pangilinan, however, said that PLDT would need to dispose of some assets to finance the capex and to avoid debts, noting that the company is looking at two main assets.

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“One is the remaining receivables from Metro Pacific [Investments Corp.] in respect of the sale of the Beacon shares–if I recall the number it’s about P15 billion. The other major asset is Rocket Internet–the current share price of it is worth around P12 billion. All I’m saying is we should calibrate if we decide to raise beyond the normal capex of P46 billion, we [should]probably dispose of Rocket shares or discount that of Metro Pacific in the market to get the cash needed to take care of the capex,” he explained.

For the first nine months of the year, PLDT said its net income increased 38 percent to P21.9 billion driven by the double-digit revenue growth in its Home and Enterprise businesses.

Consolidated service revenues dipped 4 percent to P107.3 billion.

Consolidated core income hit P23.2 billion, while consolidated EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) reached P49.1 billion, both up 7 percent from a year ago.

It said revenues from PLDT Home grew 12 percent to P24.3 billion while Enterprise revenues jumped 11 percent to P25.3 billion. On the other hand, wireless individual service revenues fell 14 percent to P44.2 billion.

“The contribution of Home and Enterprise, our fastest growing segments, comprised 54 percent of revenues, excluding International and Voyager. Combined revenues of Home and Enterprise (fixed P17 billion) have again surpassed individual wireless,” PLDT said.

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