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PLDT expects to exceed ’19 forecasts

Telco giant PLDT Inc. may exceed its earnings forecast for the year as its wireless business continues to recover, PLDT chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said on Tuesday.

On the sidelines of the company’s annual meeting, Pangilinan said financial figures were so far on track with their targets.

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PLDT said in March that it could end the year with a telco core profit of P26 billion versus P25.85 billion in 2018.

“We’re guided at P26 billion… but I think we’ll be better than P26 billion,” Pangilinan said.

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He said gains were “fueled mainly by the significant growth of wireless.”

Pangilinan did not provide other details, however, PLDT saw its once lagging wireless business surge by 18 percent to P16.9 billion in the first quarter of 2019.

Over the last two years, PLDT has been intensifying investments in its mobile network.

Last month, it announced that mobile subscribers increased to 63.4 million from 57.7 million in the first quarter of the year.

This also led to a big jump in mobile data usage amid strong demand for video streaming.

For the full-year 2019, PLDT is expecting to spend P78.4 billion, an increase of P20 billion over 2018.

Of the amount, P48 billion will go toward network investments.

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Apart from its wireless business, PLDT said its home and enterprise segments continued to grow, accounting for about half of total revenue.

PLDT said its Enterprise Business Group sustained its robust growth record, increasing revenues by 9 percent to P9.8 billion.

During the same period, its Home Business grew 3 percent to P9.1 billion.

To support increased spending for the year, PLDT is planning to sell certain assets while redeveloping its Makati City headquarters— a move that could potentially generate revenue.

Assets that could be put up for sale include its remaining 2.6 million shares in Germany’s Rocket Internet.

Pangilinan said they were also studying the sale of the Smart Tower, a 36-story office building along Ayala Avenue.

PLDT’s main headquarters, which sits on a roughly one hectare property along Makati Avenue, could be redeveloped in partnership with the property arm of Japan’s NTT Group, a major shareholder of PLDT.

Pangilinan said PLDT might also tap another property for the redevelopment of its headquarters.

He said a decision would be made within 2019.

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