Liberty Telecom losses balloon to P212-M

By Lenie Lectura, Business Mirror

Posted at Aug 17 2009 12:35 PM | Updated as of Aug 18 2009 06:38 AM

MANILA - Liberty Telecommunications Holdings Inc.’s net loss ballooned to P212.46 million in the first six months of the year, up 3.3% from P205.55 million in the same period last year, mainly due to increases in expenses allotted for the company’s reentry into the telecommunications sector.

“The expenses of the Liberty Group were the normal operating expenses incurred in reestablishing the telecommunications business of the group,” said the company in a disclosure to the stock exchange on Friday.

Revenues reached only P1.51 million as of end-June but still higher than last year due to lower interest expense and foreign exchange gains.

There was a 24.32% increase in salaries, wages and other benefits; 876.76% upward adjustment in transportation and travel expenses; 100% increase in recruitment cost; 796.30% hike in professional and legal fee services.

Liberty’s expenses for the period reached P227.25 million. Depreciation accounted for 48.55% of the total expenses and is slightly higher than last year’s amount of P110.32 million. New acquisition of office furniture and computers accounted for the slight increase in depreciation for the first semester.

Taxes and licenses also increased by 1,336.64% due to payments made for real-estate taxes relating to some real-estate properties and regulatory licenses and fees. Repairs and maintenance also increased by 207.68% due to rehabilitation activities being done on various sites.

Liberty will venture into wireless broadband business with WiMax as its main service offering. The WiMax network is expected to contribute more than 90 percent to Liberty’s total projected revenues.

Liberty is holding on to its existing frequencies, about 100 Megahertz (MHz) situated in the 700MHz frequency bandwidth and 40MHz in the 2.5-gigahertz spectrum.

Liberty has the financial backing of San Miguel Corp. and Qatar Telecoms.