PLDT 1st semester earnings up despite economic slowdown
MANILA, Philippines — PLDT Inc. reported higher earnings in the first half of the year despite strict COVID-19 lockdowns that plunged the Philippine economy into recession.
PLDT said in a stock exchange filing on Thursday that the telco core income during the six-month period rose 5 percent to P13.9 billion as service revenues grew 8 percent to P82.9 billion.
The telco giant said data and broadband accounted for 71 percent of service revenues, underscoring the shift to digital services that is accelerating because of the health crisis.
The gains came despite a significant reduction in capital spending—most of which for network upgrades— for 2020.
PLDT announced on Thursday capital spending this year will hit P70 billion, a smaller cut than previously expected but lower than the original budget of P83 billion.
“COVID-19 has set our agenda for the foreseeable future. At the outset, our task was clearly to keep people connected as the country went into lockdown,” PLDT chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said in the filing.
The company said earnings were lifted by its core wireless, home broadband and enterprise segments.
In the filing, the consumer wireless group reported a 16 percent increase in revenues to P39.8 billion as mobile data traffic doubled year-on-year.
PLDT cited higher demand for video, social media and mobile gaming.
Home broadband revenues increased by 7 percent to P19.6 billion.
“The pandemic has compelled people to redesign life at home. Many of these changes involve greater use of the internet and digital solutions to make work, study and leisure at home more efficient and enjoyable,” said Menardo G. Jimenez, Jr., senior vice president for PLDT Home.
Enterprise Group revenues hit P20.3 billion, up 5 percent. PLDT said the slowdown in traditional business activities was offset by home-based entrepreneurs and employees working from home.
“Enterprises have been pursuing digital transformation for several years now. The pandemic has made this shift even more urgent,” said Juan Victor Hernandez, senior vice president for Enterprise for PLDT and Smart.
PLDT also saw more Filipinos shift to digital payments via unit PayMaya.
It said PayMaya Enterprise “more than doubled” transaction volumes mainly for businesses such as pharmaceuticals, groceries, food establishments and retail stores.
“As the only end-to-end digital financial ecosystem enabler in the country, PayMaya is best positioned to serve the needs of consumers, businesses, communities and government as people turn to cashless solutions not just to cope with the pandemic,” said Shailesh Baidwan, President and CEO of PayMaya Philippines.
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