Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) has reported a 49% year-on-year rise in net income for the three months to 30 September 2009, aided by earnings from its investment in local broadcasting firm and power group Manila Electric (Meralco). The operator confirmed its core earnings guidance for 2009 of PHP41 billion (USD861 million) – up 8% from 2008 – despite maintaining a cautious outlook on consumer spending following a spate of typhoons that hit the main island of Luzon recently. However, it has trimmed its full-year revenue guidance by 1% to PHP146 billion. ‘While we anticipate the usual boost in the fourth quarter from holiday spending, we expect that this may be somewhat dampened as the recent typhoons caused extensive damage all around,’ PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan said in a statement.
PLDT is banking that its recent investment in Meralco will shore up its dominant position in the Filipino telecoms market. It is currently engaged in a battle for control of Meralco with local conglomerate San Miguel Corp, a new entrant in the country’s telecoms market. Pangilinan said PLDT has realised earnings of PHP361 million related to its investment in Meralco since July. ‘If Meralco achieves its full-year targets, then we should be able to record a significant contribution for the group starting this year,’ he added. PLDT, which is owned by Hong Kong’s First Pacific Co, Japan’s NTT Communications and NTT DoCoMo, reported net income of PHP10.3 billion in July-September 2009, compared with PHP6.9 billion a year ago, beating analysts’ average profit forecast of PHP9.9 billion, in a poll taken by Thomson Reuters. Third-quarter core earnings, which eliminate currency and derivatives gains, climbed 11% y-o-y to PHP10.1 billion and service revenues were up 1% at PHP35.6 billion – with mobile operations accounting for nearly two-thirds of the total.