PLDT, Inc. reported higher core profit in the first quarter, driven by a turnaround in its wireless business.
In a statement, PLDT said its reported first quarter net income surged 39% to P6.9 billion, while core income jumped 13% to P6 billion in the first three months of 2018. The telco followed the new accounting standards starting January 1, 2018.
Total revenues went up 4% to P38.63 billion, of which service revenues inched up 1% to P35.9 billion and non-service revenues soared 86% to P2.76 billion.
“I think we can do better. There are always expectations given the history of PLDT. I think it’s fair to state that quite a bit of work remains ahead of us,” PLDT Chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said during a briefing on Thursday.
PLDT also maintained its full-year core income target of P23-24 billion for 2018. It is also raising its capital expenditure budget to P58 billion this year.
PLDT Home revenues increased by 14% year on year to P8.9 billion, driven by strong subscriber take up of home broadband services. The Enterprise Group recorded P9.2 billion in revenues, up 7%.
After eight consecutive quarters of decline, the wireless business showed improvement. The individual business of Smart, TNT and Sun contributed P14.8 billion in service revenues in the first quarter, 2% higher than the same period a year ago, driven by higher data revenues. During the same period last year, the wireless business declined by 18%.
Data, broadband and digital platforms saw revenues rise 13% to P18.3 billion as of end-March. This accounted for 50% of total service revenues in the first quarter of 2018, compared from 45% a year ago.
Mobile Internet revenues increased 29% to P5.9 billion, while Home broadband revenues jumped 18% to P5.6 billion. Corporate data and data center revenues increased 6% to P5.2 billion.
PLDT Chief Revenue Officer Ernesto R. Alberto said the data plans they offer, like the Giga50, have helped increase data usage among its customers.
“We’re seeing more data usage on the plans we give out,” he said. PLDT said there were 56 million mobile data users for the quarter.
Earlier this week, PLDT completed the sale of most of its shares in German e-commerce investor Rocket Internet. Rocket Internet has accepted 6,800,000 Rocket shares tendered by PLDT subsidiary PLDT Online Investments Pte. Ltd. at €24 per share or a total of €163.2 million.
PLDT said estimated the gain from this transaction at P1.4 billion which will be booked in the second quarter.
Mr. Pangilinan had said that there is “no pressure” to divest the remaining one third of its stake in the German company, and that the divestment would depend on the movement of the share price of Rocket. The funds from the divestment will be used to fund capex.
Shares in PLDT went up by P34 or 2.53% to close at P1,376 apiece.
Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo