By Arjay L. Balinbin
Senior Reporter

PLDT, INC.’s second-quarter attributable net income grew 15.8% to P6.37 billion from P5.5 billion posted in the same period last year, driven by the surge in data and broadband revenues amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The second-quarter net income is 7.8% up from P5.91 billion earned in the first three months of the year.

In a regulatory filing on Thursday, PLDT said its telco core income (excluding Voyager Innovations, Inc.) as of June stood at P13.9 billion. The second-quarter telco core income of P7 billion is 1.5% up from the previous quarter’s P6.9 billion.

Manuel V Pangilinan, chairman, president and chief executive officer of PLDT, said during the virtual media briefing on Thursday that he expects the company’s telco core income for the year to be similar to what it realized in 2019, which was at P27.1 billion.

Total revenues for the period, both service and non-service, went up 4.1% to P43.09 billion from last year’s P41.37 billion.

The second-quarter amount is 1.28% lower than the previous quarter’s P43.65 billion.

Consumer and enterprise revenues grew 9% to P39.8 billion, 0.25% down from the previous quarter’s P39.9 billion.

International and carrier segment’s revenues declined by 34% to P1.5 billion. The amount is also 6.25% down from the previous quarter’s P1.6 billion.

“Our strong performance will allow us to further boost our already significant investments. These investments, which total some P260 billion over the past five years, enabled our networks to carry all the additional traffic during these past few months and also to bring new technologies such as 5G which we launched just last week. Given that our network rollout efforts have regained momentum, we are leveling up our target capital expenditures for 2020 back up to about P70 billion. The balance of our original P83-billion capital expenditure budget will be spent next year,” Mr. Pangilinan said.

PLDT said it would focus on LTE expansion, transport or backhaul rollout, and ADSL upgrade to fiber in the second half of the year.

In his fifth State of the Nation Address on July 27, President Rodrigo R. Duterte threatened to close or expropriate telco firms if they fail to improve their services by December this year.

Mr. Pangilinan said: “As of now, we have more than 95% of the population covered by 4G and 3G networks. We will try to cover higher than that, maybe up to 99%.”

As for the possible impact of the recession on PLDT, Mr. Pangilinan said: “The 16.5% contraction [in the second-quarter gross domestic product] is worrisome. It could affect our revenues, moving forward, so part of our job for the balance of the year is to contain our costs because that is within our control basically.”

Philstocks Financial, Inc. Senior Research Analyst Japhet Louis O. Tantiangco said via e-mail: “We still see a lot of opportunities for PLDT for the second half given the movement of the economy towards the digital space. Capitalizing on these opportunities could help PLDT sustain or even improve its momentum from the first half.”

“So far, we saw PLDT take steps to take advantage of these opportunities. This includes its continuous network expansion and the introduction of its 5G technology to the market. With these, we may also see a good second half for PLDT,” he added.

Shares in PLDT on Thursday closed 1.26% higher at P1,370 apiece.