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PHILIPPINES PRESS: PLDT 3Q Net Pft May Have Hit PHP8 Bln
MANILA (Dow Jones)--Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (TEL.PH), or PLDT, may have posted a net profit of at least PHP8 billion in the third quarter, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reports, quoting the company's president, Napoleon Nazareno.
Nazareno was quoted by the newspaper as saying that the third-quarter net profit of the country's biggest phone company by subscribers would match, if not exceed, the second-quarter net profit of PHP8 billion.
The report didn't provide details
MOODY'S Investors Service said it has placed the debt ratings of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) on review for possible upgrade, in view of the carrier's improving financial risk profile.
At the same time, Moody's assigned PLDT a local currency corporate family rating of "Ba2", and also placed it on review for possible upgrade. PLDT has a "Ba3" foreign currency senior unsecured rating.
In a statement, the ratings agency said the review would focus on the sustainability of improvements in PLDT's operating and financial profile, as well as prospective capital expenditure requirements, particularly any investment in third-generation technology.
Moody's said the review would also take into account "possible structural subordination given debt at subsidiary Smart Communications Inc.", PLDT's exposure to foreign exchange risks, and its investment strategy.
Moody's expects to complete its review by year-end.
Moody's also said PLDT's plan to seek consent of bondholders to amend certain terms of senior bonds due 2007 and 2012 or the prospective tendering of the bonds will not adversely impact its credit profile.
"PLDT is well advanced in its debt reduction program, which is leading to lower interest costs, increased cash flows, and reduced exposure to foreign exchange rate risk," Moody's said.
PLDT is targeting to reduce its debt by 600 million dollars this year, and has already cut its obligations by 550 million dollars so far, Moody's noted, adding that the company has over 530 million dollars in cash at present.
PLDT closed 5.00 pesos higher at 1,700.
JP MORGAN said it has raised its 12-month price target for Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT) to 2,050 pesos a share from 1,910, citing the company's undemanding valuation.
In a research note, JP Morgan said PLDT's full-year net profit is expected to reach 29.7 billion pesos, more than last year's 28 billion pesos.
It said PLDT has changed its strategy of ensuring growth, focusing on revitalizing its fixed-line business now that the mobile segment is seen delivering slower growth.
It said PLDT is more aggressive, particularly in promoting its DSL broadband services.
"With the current base of only 80,000 [subscribers], there is clearly much room to grow, even in the face of only an estimated 1.5-percent PC penetration, with some 750,000 directly or indirectly utilizing PLDT's fixed network," JP Morgan said.
PLDT has reaped substantial rewards in its share price in the last two years, but JP Morgan said PLDT is still at undemanding recurring price-earnings valuations of nine times for 2005 and 7.9 times for 2006.
It said that the continuing dividend payout by PLDT, which began last year, indicates the company's high cash-flow generation.
PLDT's cash flow is projected to reach 800 million dollars on average this year and in 2006, it said.
PLDT closed on Friday down 20 pesos at 1,680
PHILIPPINE Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT) will slash 400 million dollars from its debt pile next year, its president Napoleon Nazareno said.
This would bring PLDT's consolidated debt-to-EBITDA ratio to below 1.5 times by end-2006 from two times as of end-June this year, he said.
PLDT's total debt stood at 2.8 billion dollars at the start of 2005, 2 billion of which is owed by its fixed-line business. Mobile phone service provider Smart Communications Inc and unit Pilipino Telephone Corp have combined debts of 718 million dollars.
Previously, PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan has said the country's biggest telecommunications firm will cut overall debts by more than its target of 600 million dollars this year because it plans to settle some obligations ahead of schedule as the company takes advantage of its strong cash flow.
Meanwhile, Nazareno said PLDT will keep this year's capital expenditure budget of 17-18 billion pesos for the next three years, after alloting 20 billion pesos last year.
He reiterated that firm is on track to meet its core earnings target of 29 billion pesos this year, on the back of its robust mobile phone business.
"We have had relatively strong third quarter results," Nazareno said, but did not elaborate.
However, he noted that the firm may have ended the third quarter with a subscriber base less than its end-June level of 20.8 million after industry players agreed to stop their SIM swap marketing promotions, which had artificially bloated subscriber numbers without a corresponding increase in revenues.
PLDT makes it to Businessweek’s list of top 50 public firms
Telecommunications giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) made it among Asia’s top 50 publicly-listed companies, the only Philippine company in the list.
The list was compiled by BusinessWeek, a leading international business magazine, in its first annual ranking of such enterprises. PLDT was ranked 23rd in a roster dominated by regional energy giants such as Thailand’s PTT Plc (No.1), China’s PetroChina (No.2) and India’s Oil and Natural Gas (No. 3).
PLDT, however, was the highest ranking telecommunications service provider in "The Asian BW50". "Making the BW50 requires that companies prove their worth even in the face of economic uncertainty," said BusinessWeek in the cover story for its Oct. 24 issue. "They represent the very best in the fastest-growing region in the world."
The new BusinessWeek ranking was drawn from some 625 companies in the Standard & Poor’s /Citigroup/Pan Asia Index, which is made up of major companies listed on established regional exchanges.
The primary gauge of performance used in the ranking is growth of sales and earnings. Aside from compiling the figures for the latest available fiscal year, BusinessWeek considered the three-year growth in order to capture the performance of companies that have produced superior growth and profits over the long term.
The ranking also factored in return on equity, shareholder returns and other benchmarks. "Companies that made it into the top 50 did not all have stellar years, and some that had a banner earnings year did not rank among the top 50, which simply demonstrates that the rankings depict more than a single year of performance," BusinessWeek said.
"PLDT’s inclusion in BusinessWeek’s prestigious roster of Asia’s performing companies is a welcome recognition of our efforts over the past few years to strengthen the Group’s financial position and set PLDT on the path to future sustained growth," said PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan.
"We are greatly honored to be part of "The Asian BW50" representing a Filipino company that demonstrates how innovation can drive growth amidst a challenging market environment," added PLDT president and CEO Napoleon L. Nazareno.
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