MANILA - PLDT stood out among the companies in First Pacific's portfolio amid robust demand for internet connectivity during the COVID-19 pandemic, First Pacific said on Monday.
Locally known as the MVP Group of Companies, First Pacific is a Hong Kong-based investment management and holding company that operates in the Asia-Pacific region.
First Pacific managing director and CEO Manny Pangilinan said the group’s telco, PLDT, outpaced the performance of its power and water businesses, which turned in lower growth.
“Because of the recession, demand has generally been down, especially in the 2nd quarter, albeit only moderately for power and water for this period. The main exception is the telco business because revenues have been robust for the first half.”
Pangilinan is also chairman of PLDT, Metro Pacific Investments Corp, and Manila Electric Company.
PLDT's telco core income rose 5 percent year-on-year to P13.9 billion in the first half mainly due to higher data and broadband service revenues.
Meanwhile, Metro Pacific, which has interests in Meralco, Maynilad and Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, saw a 38 percent decline in core net income year-on-year.
The transport business was the hardest hit in the First Pacific portfolio, as strict quarantine measures kept commuters away from tollways to trains.
Tollway traffic, however, is recovering from its initial drop in April at the start of the lockdown, Pangilinan said.
“Traffic went down to as low as 10 percent of pre-COVID 19 levels. It has now been restored to 80 percent. It’s cash flow positive.”
Despite the recovery in its tollways business, Pangilinan cited the risks of negative economic growth on people’s ability to pay for basic services including water, power and telecommunications.
“Demand will always be there because those are very basic requirements. So the question is whether it will continue to grow, or there will be reasons that will cause demand to drop off simply because people may have lesser means to pay,” Pangilinan said.