Driven by the growth of its data/broadband business, PLDT Inc. netted ₱12.9 billion earnings, up 5% on ₱89.9 billion revenues, up 8.5%, in the first half of this year.

The telco’s core income ( excluding the impact of asset sales and Voyager Innovations) climbed 10% year-on-year to ₱15.2 billion due to lower tax rates.

Consolidated EBITDA hit an all-time high, of 8% year-on-year to ₱46.6 billion, excluding MRP (Manpower Reduction Program) expenses, driven by higher service revenues while EBITDA margin was at 51%.

“Though we are seeing the economic impact of the pandemic, we still expect overall revenue growth for the year,” says Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan.

“We expect a high single-digit increase in consolidated service revenues and we are on track to hit our telco core income target of ₱30 billion,” he declared.

As for the first half of the year, “Our initiatives reassert the Group’s commitment to a digitally-empowered Philippines, providing world-class connectivity as a human right, positioning the country as a key player in the global arena, and actively embarking on sustainable development,” remarked Alfredo S. Panlilio, PLDT Inc. and Smart Communications President and CEO.

“We enable Filipinos to secure a better future,” he stressed.

Today (August 5), the PLDT Board of Directors declared an interim dividend of ₱42 per share, representing 60% of first half 2021 telco core income, in line with PLDT’s dividend policy.

Record date is set for August 19, 2021, while payment date is on September 3 2021.

Consolidated Net Debt as of the second quarter 2021 amounted to US$4.318 billion while net-debt-to-EBITDA stood at 2.28x. Gross Debt was at US$4.869 billion, with maturities well spread out.

Only 17% of Gross Debt was denominated in US dollars and considering hedges and available US dollar cash allocated for debt, only 5% remain unhedged.

PLDT’s credit ratings from Moody’s and S&P Global remain at investment grade.

Sustained demand for data and broadband boosted service revenues across the telco’s three customer segments—Home, Enterprise and Consumer Wireless.

Home registered the highest revenue increase in the second quarter.PLDT and Smart continuously invested in network expansion to support the rise in data traffic, bringing total first half capex to ₱41.3 billion.

Network upgrades represent the bulk of capital expenditure, as the company stayed on track in building its digital infrastructure.

The continued rollout of its fiber, 5G and 4G/LTE networks was underpinned by its 2021 capex guidance of between ₱88 billion and ₱92 billion.

To address market demand, PLDT fast-tracked the roll-out of the country’s most extensive fiber infrastructure, reaching over 524,000 kilometers as of the end of the first half of 2021, a 22% increase from a year ago.

PLDT extended the reach of its fixed broadband service to cover 11.3 million homes passed, while the total number of fiber-powered ports increased to 4.8 million.

This supports Smart’s 5G network expansion, with over 4,800 live 5G sites to date, as well as its LTE network, which now covers 96% of the population from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.

“To ensure that Filipinos thrive in this digital world, we are working towards excellence in three things–customer experience, digital innovation and operational efficiency—to be world-class in all aspects,” according to Panlilio.

In the first half, PLDT Home’s service revenues grew 23% , to ₱22.7 billion,the highest increase among all business segments.

Focusing on the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) business, PLDT Home’s fiber revenues grew at a record pace, up 74% year-on-year to ₱14.1 billion in the first half of 2021.

PLDT Home recorded close to half a million new FTTH installations in the first half of 2021.

PLDT continued to ramp up installation capacity to achieve a monthly average of about 90,000 new connects plus another 21,000 migrations to fiber during the second quarter.

PLDT Home is on track to grow its FTTH subscriber base by one million for the full year.

On the other hand, continued work-from-home activities and growth of its ICT business drove PLDT Enterprise revenues in the first half of 2021, reaching ₱20.4 billion, representing a growth of 2%.

Data/broadband revenues accounted for 72% of total Enterprise service revenues for the period.

Supporting PLDT Enterprise’s revenue resiliency amid the COVID-19 disruptions are its earnings from its ICT business, which grew 7% off the back of all-time high data center colocation and cloud revenues in the first half of the year.

Being the largest fully integrated telco in the country, PLDT aims to be the curator of cloud services in the Philippines.

PLDT owns 70% of the capacity in the data center segment, securing its market leadership.

Despite the pandemic-induced challenges of business closures, loss of livelihood and limited mobility impacting Individual consumers, Consumer Wireless revenues rose 7% year-on-year to ₱43.8 billion for the first half of the year, an increase of ₱2.7 billion from the same period last year.

Total mobile data traffic for the first half of 2021 was at 1,579 petabytes, representing an increase of 17% from the same period last year.

The monthly average mobile data traffic for the second quarter was 267 petabytes, 11% higher than the full year 2020 average.

Source: Manila Bulletin (