The Philippines’ largest telecoms group by revenues and subscribers, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT), has reported a 15.5% year-on-year rise in net profit for its fourth-quarter ended 31 December 2009, boosted in part by higher mobile usage in the Christmas festive period. The group posted net income of PHP9.763 billion (USD212.2 million) in the period under review, compared with PHP8.456 billion in 4Q08, while full-year net income was up 14.9% y-o-y at PHP39.781 billion – slightly below analysts’ estimates of PHP40.4 billion according to Thomson Reuters. The group’s core earnings, which strip out currency and derivatives-related items, dipped by 1% year-on-year to PHP10.187 billion in 4Q09, bringing PLDT’s annual core net income to PHP41.1 billion pesos, broadly in line with the company’s outlook for 2009.
PLDT’s Smart and Piltel units ended 2009 with a total mobile user base of 41.3 million, up 17% from a year earlier, helping boost cellular penetration in the country to around 80% of the country’s 92 million people. The company says it expects its service revenues to climb to PHP150 billion in 2010, up from PHP145.6 billion. Mobile phone revenues account for nearly two-thirds of the group’s total, it said. In a statement PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan said: ‘We see 2010 as another year fraught with challenges – competition shows no signs of abating, consumer wallets are tightening, elections notwithstanding, and alternative means of communications such as social networking are real threats to our mainstream businesses.’