Philippine largest telecom Q1 profits up by 19%

09:02, May 14, 2010      

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Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), Philippines' largest telecommunication firm, boosted its profits by almost a fifth in the first quarter on the back of a stronger economy.

The company told the Philippine Stock Exchange on Thursday that consolidated net income from January to March grew by 19 percent to 11.4 billion pesos (253 million U.S. dollars) compared with the same period last year.

The higher profits was mostly because of "recurring net income and a net gain from foreign exchange revaluation of its financial assets and liabilities and derivatives compared to a net loss last year," which managed to offset the one percent decline in service revenues during the period, it said.

The disposal of the company's satellite transponders pulled down the revenues of its wireless business by a percent to 23.7 billion pesos (526 million U.S. dollars) in the first quarter despite its various cellular subsidiaries having attracted more customers.

The PLDT Group's total cellular subscriber base in the first quarter grew by 17 percent to 43.2 million subscribers. Cellular subsidiary Smart Communications Inc. continues to lead the industry in terms of subscribers while Talk 'N Text and Red Mobile also improved their subscriber base, PLDT said.

Its broadband business, SmartBro, meawhile continued to expand its wireless broadband subscriber base to 1.2 million at the end of the first quarter.

"With the cellular market maturing, we are more determined than ever to continue developing broadband as our growth sector accordingly, the bulk of our investments will be made in this space, be it infrastructure, platforms, access devices or content, " Orlando B. Vea, chief wireless adviser of Smart, said in a statement.

Fixed line service revenues increased by a percent in the first quarter as a result of a 13 percent improvement in its data revenues both from corporate data and residential DSL services, whose broadband subscribers grew by 30,000 to 590,000 at the end of March.

ePLDT, the group's information and communications technology arm, also reported a one percent increase in service revenues durnig the period.

"When we presented our financial results for 2009 last March, I indicated then that (this year) would be somewhat of a bridge year for the group. Capital investments would remain on the high side as we further expand and improve our infrastructure and platforms, both operationally and strategically," PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said.

The telephone giant said it remains committed to spend 28.6 billion pesos (634 million U.S. dollars) this year to upgrade its broadband and cellular coverage and capacity.



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