Lower revenues and a continued modernization effort saw Pangilinan led-PLDT, Inc.’s 2017 net income plunge by 33 percent to P13.4 billion.
In a disclosure on Thursday, the telco said the net income drop — from P20.16 billion in 2016 — was “mainly due to non-core capex-related expenses of P16.7 billion in connection with our transformation initiative…”.
This included a “swap of network elements in a certain part of the country, resulting from PLDT’s aggressive network upgrade aimed at achieving dramatic improvements in customer experience.”
Acknowleding the ‘big one-time hit”, PLDT Chief Financial Officer Annabelle Chua explained that the swap was done in Metro Manila, with the telco choosing to “take the hit in terms of shortening the life and writing off those assets.”
Consolidated revenues totaled P159.92 billion in 2017, down 3 percent year on year and attributed to declines for the mobile and home broadband business.
The wireless business, which covers mobile and home broadband, accounted for the bulk of revenues at P93.83 billion, down 11 percent from 2016.
Expenses, meanwhile, rose 7 percent to P150.41 billion due to investments in the wireless business.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) amounted to P66.17 billion, 8 percent higher from the previous year “as reduced subsidies and provisions offset lower service revenues, higher cost of services and manpower reduction program expenses,” PLDT said.
The company also saw its subscriber base thin out in 2017, reporting total mobile and home broadband clients of 58.53 million, down 7 percent from 63.03 million a year earlier.
PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said “much remains to be done” to see sustained growth for the telco,
In line with this, capital expenditures will be raised to a “historic” P58 billion this year with just over half or 53 percent to be used to develop the fixed network business.
This spending level will be sustained to 2020, which will bring total capex since 2016 to nearly P260 billion, PLDT said.
“We would like to indicate that we’re serious [about securing]the rapid [growth]of both our fixed and wireless business.” Pangilinan said.
“I’m not saying we’re not out of the woods. But it seems like we’re getting there,” he added.
Recurring core income — which saw an 11 percent increast to P22.3 billion last year — was forecast to rise by P1-2 billion this year on the back of an estimated 4 percent growth in service revenues.