PLDT revealed it went over budget by up to PHP48 billion (US$866 million) with steps taking place to plug the gap with its vendors.
In a statement to the Philippines bourse, PLDT said its board and audit committee is conducting an internal forensic investigation with vendors to correct the accounts and reduce any more budget overruns.
The operator group stated the investigation has so far “not uncovered any fraudulent transactions” or found any procurement anomalies or loss of assets from the CAPEX spend.
To remain competitive against rivals Globe and Dito Telecommunity, PLDT elevated CAPEX spend since 2019 to fund 4G and 5G coverage expansions, fibre-to-the-home deployment, transport network upgrades and subsea cable expansions among others.
The company has spent around 12.7% of PHP379 billion CAPEX spent between 2019 to 2022. Vendors have “expressed flexibility to work with our commercial requests involving reduction of outstanding work”. Shares in PLDT fell 17% after the news broke.
The financial hole will not affect plans as CAPEX for 2023 will be at an “elevated" level, with PLDT stating recent tower sales cushioning financial statements for this year, but 2024 CAPEX will be lowered.