The Philippines’ largest telecoms company Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) posted record net profits of PHP34 billion (USD656 million) in the year to 31 December 2005, a 22% increase year-on-year. The company attributed the results, which exceeded analysts’ forecasts, to ‘foreign exchange translations gains and certain deferred tax assets.’ Consensus estimates were expecting full-year net income of around PHP31 billion. Fourth-quarter net income rose 80% to PHP9.7 billion from PHP5.4 billion a year earlier – the biggest three-month profit since it posted net income of PHP9.75 billion in the third quarter of 2004. PLDT said its consolidated service revenues increased by 5% to PHP121billion (USD2.3 billion) in 2005, and revenues from consolidated wireless services rose 8% to PHP74.7 billion, driven by subscriber growth which lifted the total base by 1.2 million to 20.4 million. Gains were also reported from PLDT’s fixed line business. The unit witnessed a 2.47% rise in revenues as increased data revenues offset the downturn in traditional voice calls.
In a statement, PLDT said the strong rise in earnings would help it to pay USD650 million of debt due in 2006 and 2007, and help it to meet its target of distributing 50% of its annual profit as dividends in 2007. PLDT plans to spend PHP18 billion a year between 2006 through 2008 to ensure its wireless and fixed line networks can provide high speed broadband internet access.