Filipino telecoms operators Digital Telecommunications Philippines Inc (Digitel) and Bayan Telecommunications (Bayan) reported narrowing losses in the first nine months of 2009 on the back of increased sales and a stronger peso. Gokongwei-controlled Digitel reported net losses of PHP394.2 million (USD8.4 million) for 9M09, significantly lower than the PHP2.7 billion loss the company booked in the corresponding period of 2008. In a filing the company’s parent said: ‘Consolidated cost and operating expenses increased by 30% to PHP7 billion from last year’s consolidated figure of PHP5.4 billion … Higher cost of sales, network-related expenses and general and administrative expenses primarily contributed to the increase.’ The filing went on to say that Digitel’s consolidated service and non-service revenues for nine-month period under review totalled PHP10.3 billion, up by nearly 33% from PHP7.7 billion, with the wireless division contributing 73% of the total – or PHP7.5 billion (up 58% year-on-year). Digitel’s Sun Cellular brand has reached the nine million subscriber mark – confirming it as the third largest player in the domestic market. The parent noted that non-service revenues stemming from higher sales of SIM packs and phone kits also grew 55.7%, while company EBITDA stood at PHP3.2 billion, 40% better than a year ago.
Meanwhile, Lopez-owned Bayan Telecommunications (Bayan) reported a net loss of PHP565 million for the January to September 2009 period, compared with a PHP2.57 billion net loss in the same period last year. The company said its massive losses in 2008 came about as a result of the peso’s depreciation, which increased the servicing costs of its dollar-denominated loans. Having suffered such massive losses in a competitive telecoms market, Bayan opted to sign up to a 19-year rehabilitation plan, ending in 2023, which will see it pay off about PHP1.4 billion in debt this year.