PLDT receives P57.7 billion from sale of 4,435 towers

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THE PLDT group on Monday said it recently received P57.7 billion from the sale of 4,435 telecom towers.

“As of Oct. 3, ownership of a total of 4,435 towers or 75% of the 5,907 towers covered by the sale and leaseback transaction had been transferred to the tower companies,” PLDT, Inc. said in a disclosure to the stock exchange.

“Proceeds from the sale of the towers would be used to pay down debt, and support operating and capital expenditures,” it added.

The group is currently studying the “sale of telecom towers in addition to the 5,907 towers.”

The group announced in April that its subsidiaries, Smart Communications, Inc. and Digitel Mobile Philippines, Inc., had signed sale and purchase deals in connection with the sale of 5,907 telecom towers and related passive telecom infrastructure for P77 billion to the subsidiaries of international telecommunications infrastructure services companies edotco Group and EdgePoint.

The 5,907 towers — almost half of PLDT’s total tower portfolio — are spread across the Philippines, with 2,973 being acquired by ISOC edotco Towers, Inc., a subsidiary of edotco Group, and 2,934 towers by Comworks Infratech Corp., a subsidiary of EdgePoint.

“The transaction is timely as it allows PLDT to avoid additional debt against a backdrop of a rising interest rate environment,” PLDT said.

“PLDT expects additional closings before the end of the year, with final closing anticipated to be completed by the first quarter of 2023,” it added.

PLDT shares closed 1.19% lower at P1,490 apiece on Monday.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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