Several top executives of PLDT Inc., including its chief finance officer, vacated their posts even as the findings of an investigation into the P48-billion capital expenditure overrun found “no evidence of fraud, intentional concealment or bad faith conduct.”
PLDT said in a disclosure to the stock exchange CFO Annabelle Chua and senior vice president and network head Mario Tamayo opted for early retirement effective April 16 and April 14, 2023, respectively.
Chua has been on leave with pay since December 2022 to allow the company to conduct an independent investigation into the elevated CAPEX spend.
PLDT chief procurement officer Mary Rose Dela Paz voluntarily resigned effective April 14, while vice president Alexander Kibanoff availed of a “manpower reduction program” effective April 16, 2023.
PLDT’s forensic review of the elevated capex for 2019 to 2022 which was substantially completed in March found “no evidence of fraud, intentional concealment or bad faith conduct on the part of any employee of the company.”
PLDT also completed discussions with major vendors representing about 80 percent of its outstanding capex commitments as of December last year.
The company signed settlement and mutual release agreements with major vendors in March 2023, which resulted in the reduction of outstanding commitments to P33 billion from P48 billion.
S&P Global Ratings early this month downgraded PLDT’s long-term issuer credit rating to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB+’ over the company’s overspending issue.
S&P also lowered the issue rating on PLDT’s senior unsecured notes to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB+’. S&P kept PLDT’s outlook to “stable” as its rising earnings would provide some “cushion against rising debt.”
PLDT earlier said that to prevent capex overrun in the future, it had implemented various operational enhancements to its policies, procedures and controls relating to the capex management process.
The company said its capex for this year would be P80 billion to P85 billion, lower than the P96.8-billion capex last year.
PLDT’s net income fell 60 percent in 2022 mostly because of accelerated network and technology upgrades. Reported net income amounted to P10.48 billion last year, down from P26.36 billion in 2021.
Telco core profit, which excludes the impact of asset sales and Voyager Innovations, reached P33.1 billion in 2022, up from P30.23 billion in 2021.
“Our core business remains to be sound, and continues to show solid EBITDA numbers,” said PLDT and Smart president and chief executive Alfredo Panlilio.
“We have an excellent network, strong brands and attractive products. Wireless is simplifying its portfolio, Home continues to expand beyond connectivity, and Enterprise is pursuing its digital transformation initiatives,” he said.