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PLDT income dips to P16B in first 9 months


PANGILINAN-LED PLDT Inc.’s net income fell by 2 percent to P16 billion in the first nine months of 2019 from P16.26 billion in the same period last year, which it attributed to higher labor costs and lower gains from the sale of its shares in Rocket Internet.

In a briefing on Thursday, PLDT Chief Financial Officer Annabelle Chua said the telecommunication titan’s financial performance took a hit from the higher expenses of the manpower rightsizing program (MRP), which reached P2.4 billion, compared with to the P400 million recorded last year.

“Net income was a shade lower due to combined effect of [the] higher MRP expense this year and lower gain from Rocket shares,” she explained to reporters.

In April 2018, PLDT decided to cut its stake in the German technology firm by at least 6.8 million shares, or 67.4 percent of its total shares, raising P10.5 billion.

Currently, Chua said, PLDT holds 1.9 million shares of Rocket Internet, equivalent to P2.5 billion.

When asked if the firm would be selling its remaining stake in Rocket Internet, she said that while that would not happen this year, PLDT might decide to dispose of it if there are opportunities next year.

Despite the profit plunge, PLDT’s service revenues climbed by 5 percent from P113.6 billion a year earlier to P119 billion — its highest yet.

Revenues from its data and broadband segments accounted for 66 percent or P76.7 billion, while those from its consumer wireless segment grew by 20 percent to P52.6 billion.

Consolidated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization reached P60.3 billion, up 16 percent from the previous P51.83 billion.

“Our efforts are now focused on building on the momentum achieved thus far, which means continuing to level up our game to better address the rapidly evolving needs of our individual and corporate customers,” PLDT Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Manuel V. Pangilinan was quoted as saying in a filing.

For its capital expenditures (capex) in 2020, Pangilinan said the group might again increase its spending as it readies for the Fifth Generation (5G) network, adding that PLDT would soon choose “more than one vendor” for its 5G launch.

The firm’s 2019 capex is P78.4 billion, higher than 2018’s P58 billion.

PLDT shares dipped by P11 or 0.98 percent to finish at P1,110 each on Thursday.

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