Philippines-based PLDT’s profit fell in 2022 due to a spike in capex-related expenses stemming from a massive budget overrun it disclosed in December, though it stated it had agreed deals with its major vendors to cut the amount by nearly a third.

PLDT noted it agreed deals with suppliers this month covering around 80 per cent of the overrun to reduce its outstanding commitments after 2022 to about PHP33 billion ($607.6 million), net of advances paid to the vendors.

The operator plans to hold talks with other vendors to achieve similar results.

PLDT’s actions relate to a capex overrun estimated at up to PHP48 billion between 2019 and 2022.

Capex of PHP96.8 billion in 2022 came in above its initial guidance of PHP85 billion. It forecast a drop this year.

Net profit fell 60.2 per cent year-on-year to PHP10.5 billion, with depreciation and amortisation expense up 89 per cent to PHP98.7 billion and asset impairment costs 23 per cent to PHP6.1 billion.

PLDT did not break out profit for Q4. Total service revenue increased 5.1 per cent to PHP49.7 billion, with growth in fixed broadband and voice offsetting weakness in mobile.

Mobile service turnover fell 2.5 per cent to PHP23.3 billion on double-digit declines in SMS, and domestic and international voice.

Data revenue grew 2.6 per cent to PHP18.2 billion.

Mobile subscribers fell 7 per cent, as a similar drop in prepaid to 64.3 million cancelled out a 32 per cent gain in post-paid to 2 million.

Smart Communication’s prepaid ARPU rose 3.8 per cent to PHP109 and post-paid fell 11.7 per cent PHP705.

Fixed revenue grew 16 per cent to PHP26 billion on a 21.1 per cent increase in home broadband.

An external review of the budget shortfall, conducted with assistance from accounting and audit consultants, identified no evidence of fraud, intentional concealment or bad faith conduct on the part of any employee, PLDT stated.