PLDT sells 1,013 cell towers to two international companies for P13.2b

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PLDT Inc. announced on Monday that it has completed the sale of 1,013 additional cell sites to two international tower operators for 13.2 billion pesos.

PLDT said the deal was part of sale and purchase agreements with ISOC edotco Towers Inc. and Conworks Infratech Corp., a subsidiary of EdgePoint, involving 5,907 towers for 77 billion pesos. PLDT units Smart Communications Inc. and Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc. signed the agreements in April.

The company sold 3,012 towers for 39.2 billion pesos in June. With the latest transaction, PLDT has completed the sale of 4,025 telecom towers representing 68% of the tower portfolio. Completion of the transaction is expected by the fourth quarter of 2022.

He said that of the 5,907 monetized towers, ISOC edotco, a subsidiary of edotco group, would acquire 2,973 towers nationwide, while Comworks Infratech would obtain 2,934 towers in Luzon.

PLDT said the sale and leaseback would be complemented by a commitment to build 1,500 new towers over the next few years.

PLDT said earlier that it would use proceeds from the transaction to invest in the network and return cash to shareholders via a special dividend.

The company has revised its capital expenditure forecast for 2022 to 85 billion pesos, compared to the initial investment forecast of 76 billion pesos to 80 billion pesos.

PLDT said over the weekend it would invest about $100 million to build two additional submarine cable systems to boost its international data capacity.

It recently launched the US-Transpacific Jupiter Cable system, the fastest direct data cable link from the Philippines to the US and Japan. PLDT has invested $136 million for the project.

The 14,000 kilometer Jupiter Cable system is the newest international gateway linking the Philippines directly from PLDT’s cable landing station to Daet, Camarines Norte, Japan and the West Coast of the United States.

“Our investment in Jupiter will exponentially increase the Philippines’ international capacity, accelerate global trade in digital services, and propel the country’s digital economy, while increasing internet speed and reliability for Filipinos,” said the Chairman and CEO of PLDT, Al Panlilio.

PLDT reported net income of 9.07 billion pesos in the first quarter, up 56 percent from 6.80 billion pesos in the same period last year.

Telco’s base revenue, excluding the impact of asset sales and Voyager Innovations, reached 8.2 billion pesos in the first three months, up 9% from the 7.5 billion pesos in the same period last year.

Services revenue was 47.97 billion pesos in the first quarter, up 5% from 45.67 billion pesos a year ago.

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