PLDT Inc. chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, or MVP, called it a hiccup on the road and from the looks of it, the telecom giant has hurdled a roadblock that can be navigated with caution and vigilance.
PLDT’s earnings took a hit in 2022 due to a carryover of capital expenditures in the previous year—a painful experience that prompted the company to improve project management systems “to efficiently monitor capex spending.”
Danny Yu, PLDT’s group controller, said PLDT was doing “refinement policies regarding budgeting, as well as the accruing process.”
There is also improvement to project management systems to efficiently monitor capex spending, he added.
PLDT registered a net profit of P10.48 billion last year, down from P26.36 billion in 2021. Core profit, which excludes the impact of asset sales and Voyager Innovations, reached P33.1 billion in 2022, up from P30.23 billion in 2021.
“Our core business remains to be sound, and continues to show solid EBITDA numbers,” said PLDT and Smart president and chief executive Alfredo Panlilio.
The company says its forensic review of the higher capital expenditures from 2019 to 2022 is “substantially complete” and that it found “no evidence of fraud, intentional concealment or bad faith conduct on the part of any employee of the company.”
PLDT completed negotiations with major vendors representing about 80 percent of its outstanding capex commitments as of December last year. It signed settlement and mutual release agreements with its major vendors in March 2023 that resulted in the reduction of outstanding commitments to P33 billion from P48 billion.
“2022 demanded practically everything that we had. Despite the adversities, I remain convinced that PLDT will not only survive but thrive; our core business is strong; and our people endured, inspired by our singular mission of safeguarding and enhancing shareholder value,” said Pangilinan.
“It’s quite a relief… We’re relieved… that despite this hiccup in the road, the financial remain robust and strong,” Panglinan said when asked about if he was satisfied about the results of the investigation.
PLDT avoided the worst-case scenario from the financial controversy. “There’s been no downgrading of PLDT’s credit standing. We’re relieved and focus on recovery in whatever reputation we may have lost,” says MVP.
“As we approach PLDT’s 100th year, we forge ahead in pursuit of the group’s North Star—enabling a digital life for every Filipino and improving lives,” he added
Panlilio is also upbeat about the development, noting that the company’s fundamentals have remained strong after earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization grew 4 percent to P100.48 billion—the first time in corporate history that PLDT breached the P100-billion mark.
“We have an excellent network, strong brands and attractive products. Wireless is simplifying its portfolio, Home continues to expand beyond connectivity, and Enterprise is pursuing its digital transformation initiatives,” Panlilio said.
Consolidated service revenues rose to P205.24 billion from P193.25 billion in 2021. Total expenses reached P210.74 billion, up from P152.49 billion. Of the total, depreciation and amortization amounted to P98.71 billion, higher than P52.16 billion in 2021.