GLOBE Telecom, Inc. on Thursday said it expects “upsides” in its gross service revenues (GSR) for 2022, but noted that Typhoon Odette and the Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused a “slow start” for the company in the first quarter.

The company saw its core net income for the fourth quarter of 2021 fall by 25% to P2.9 billion from P3.9 billion in the same period in 2020.

“There are upsides to the GSR guidance at this point, but we had a slow start to the year, as Odette crippled Visayas and Mindanao and Omicron had a lot of our employees… sick so we had to actually divide our operations more sparsely,”  Globe Chief Finance Officer Rizza Maniego-Eala said during a press briefing.

The company said its typhoon relief efforts, as well as restoration efforts to bring services back to normal in the remaining affected areas, are ongoing.

Globe noted that as of Jan. 18, it had restored 82.3% of its network in Visayas and 91.8% in Mindanao.

“For 2022, due to the continuing negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic brought about by new variants such as Omicron, the company remains guardedly optimistic about sustaining momentum as the economy recovers,” Globe said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Thus, the company believes that, notwithstanding the relevant product platforms in place and aggressive network investments, revenues will increase by low single digit from 2021 level,” it added.

The company expects its EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) margin to remain in the low 50s, “as margins will be continuously impacted by the increasing contribution of lower-margin data-related products, but offset with efforts in managing costs.”

Its capital expenditure (capex) budget for the year will be around P89 billion, as it aims to continue expanding and improving its network, with increased funding for the rollout of the fiber network and 5G (fifth-generation network) service.

Globe saw its core net income for 2021 grow by 9% to P21.2 billion from P19.5 billion in 2020.

Its full-year consolidated service revenues grew by 4% to P151.5 billion from the P146.4 billion reported in 2020.

The company attributed its growth to the “sustained outstanding performance of home broadband as well as corporate data.”

It invested P92.8 billion in capex last year. “Total capex for 2021 represented 61% of gross service revenues and 124% of EBITDA,” it said.

“About 86% of the capex went to data-related requirements in order to serve the rising demands of Filipinos consumers who access the Internet to carry on with their daily activities, maintain business operations and deliver critical services,” it added.

Globe Telecom shares closed 7.06% lower at P2,818 apiece on Thursday. — Arjay L. Balinbin