When last I wrote on Philippine Long Distance
And the story may not be over yet.
It's no great treat to try to carve into PLDT's earnings report. Unlike other Asian telcos like China Mobile
And there certainly are a few less favorable numbers in the mix as well. Wireless subscribers grew only 6% for the year, and they in the fourth quarter because of the termination of a swap program earlier in the year. On the flip side, average revenue per user declined pretty significantly for the year (about 17%), though the fourth quarter wasn't nearly so bad.
Even with that lackluster news, PLDT still managed to repay more than $700 million in debt for the year and saw free cash flow climb about 13%. Fools should note, though, that I use a different formula for free cash flow than the company does, so its percentage change will be different.
There are certainly above-average risks in this stock. For most Americans, the Philippines are still "over there . somewhere," and worries about corruption and coups are still legitimate -- to say nothing of terrorism. And as really the only Filipino stock that most Westerners know anything about, the company is often a proxy for the country as a whole.
All that said, I still like this company and give the stock a prominent position on my watch list. I want to do a little more due diligence, though, because the valuation today just seems a little too good to be true -- more than $1.1 billion in free cash flow and just less than 186 million shares outstanding suggests some real potential. But I want to double and triple-check my calculations first.
For more Foolish foreign fancies:
New Zealand Telecom is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation.
Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).