Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. said Wednesday it formed a new company with an initial investment of $50 million this year to acquire Internet-related firms in other countries.
The country’s largest telecom company created PLDT Capital, which aims to connect the PLDT Group of companies with leading firms in Silicon Valley and around the world.
PLDT Capital’s investment budget of up to $50 million this year will support PLDT business units, which include Smart, ePLDT, Digital5 and Voyager to grow their portfolio of digital services in the Philippines, in the rest of Southeast Asia, and other developing economies of the world.
“PLDT Capital serves as an important pillar to sustain our Digital Pivot,” PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan said.
PLDT earlier raised its capital expenditures to P43 billion this year from its earlier budget of P39 billion to invest more in digital platform and expand its mobile and fixed-line networks.
Winston Damarillo, managing director of PLDT Capital, told reporters the company was looking at five deals per year to sustain market leadership in the Philippines.
For next year, Damarillo said PLDT Capital was looking at increasing its budget to more than $50 million.
“The new mindset here is no more defense… we are using our resources to regain the momentum, we are still the leader in the Philippines.We are working on it with urgency,” Damarillo said.
Damarillo said the PLDT Group serves more than 70 million mobile and Internet customers in the Asean region.
“In addition to investments, PLDT Capital aims to become the gateway for the most promising startups to expand their opportunities to the fast growing digital consumers in the ASEAN region,” he said.
PLDT invested in Singapore’s Paywhere, through Voyager, for $5 million in August. The company also acquired a 6.1-percent in Rocket Internet for $445 million and iFlix, Southeast Asia’s leading Internet TV service provider.
PLDT Capital will be supported by a team of strategists, engineers, and product managers who will also be identified from the Group. PLDT Capital has formally started operations in El Segundo, within Los Angeles County, California, and has presence in Silicon Valley.
Partly owned by Hong Kong’s First Pacific Co. Ltd. and Japan’s NTT group earlier reported a net income of P18.9 billion in the January to June period from P19.8 billion in the same period last year.
Consolidated revenues dropped 2 percent to P81.2 billion in the first semester, as revenues from the international and national long distance segments continued to sag.
Wireless service revenues amounted to P55.59 billion while data broadband revenues reached P23.02 billion.
PLDT Group’s mobile phone subscriber stood at 68.9 million as of end-June while broadband subscriber base reached 4.9 million.