PLDT, Inc. is hopeful Voyager Innovations, Inc. will turn a profit by 2024, as its digital payments firm Paymaya Philippines, Inc. continues to grow its business.

“If I recall correctly, it should break even, cash-wise by 2023, so maybe 2024, we would see the light of day, hopefully. That’s our projection,” PLDT Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters on Nov. 14.

In 2018, PLDT incurred a loss of P3 billion in Voyager, a 150% increase from P1.2 billion in 2017.

Asked if he is willing to offer more shares in Voyager to investors, Mr. Pangilinan said: “I think there’s an effort to raise funding, it’s good to finance their [business] in the next three to five years of their operations. That will be good.”

Last year, PLDT sold a more than 50% stake in Voyager for $215 million to China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd.; US-based Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR); International Finance Corp. (IFC) and IFC Emerging Asia Fund. PLDT remains the single largest shareholder in Voyager.

Aside from PayMaya, Voyager’s portfolio includes PLDT’s mobile remittance brand Smart Padala, FINTQnologies Corp., online loaning platform Lendr and free mobile browsing app Freenet.

Mr. Pangilinan is bullish on PayMaya’s growth.

“I think their throughput, the number of accounts, the number of transactions are increasing each month. So, [I’m] optimistic,” he said.

Paymaya has continued to grow its gross transaction volume, which is estimated at more than P200 billion every year.

In September, Paolo Azzola, chief operating officer and managing director of PayMaya, said the company is targeting to reach the trillion peso mark in terms of value of annual transactions by 2023.

On the enterprise side, Mr. Azzola said PayMaya targets to have 80,000 merchants on its platform by the end of the year.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — A.L.Balinbin