The Philippines' PLDT has reported a 9% decline in net profit for the first nine months of the year to 25.3 billion pesos ($539.9 million) as a result of higher costs.
The operator blamed unfavorable foreign exchange rates, the impact of expenses related to a headcount reduction program and higher financing costs for the decline. Excluding exceptional items, total net income declined 5% to 27.1 billion pesos.
Consolidated revenue fell 1% to 122 billion pesos, with wireless revenue falling 3% to 83.23 billion pesos but fixed line revenues increasing 5% to 43.65 billion pesos.
Excluding the ILD/NLD segments, consolidated revenue grew 2% year-on-year to 104.5 billion pesos. In the third quarter, total service revenues grew 1% both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year, potentially marking the beginning of a turnaround.
Total capex grew by 7.3 billion pesos to 23.3 billion, due to investments made to improve the operator's 3G, 4G network quality, resiliency and coverage and expand its fiber reach, among other projects.
PLDT's total mobile postpaid base grew by 154,000 over the nine month period ending in September to just over 2.9 million. Total mobile subscribers across the group's various mobile brands reached 67 million.
“We are seeing some encouraging signs of progress as we execute the strategy we outlined in previous presentations,” PLDT chairman Manuel V Pangilinan commented.
“The third quarter is seasonally soft, yet our revenues have shown a general improvement, both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year. This is even more evident if we strip out the 'drag' of our legacy NLD/ILD businesses.”
But he noted that there will still be substantial capex investments required to preserve the level of service required by the market and position PLDT to remain competitive in the future.