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PLDT selling Smart Tower to raise P5b for expansion

PLDT Inc. said it expects to raise at least P5 billion from the sale of Smart Tower along Ayala Ave. in Makati City to finance expansion plans in 2020.

“We have bids for Smart Tower. We will also sell other three minor properties and Rocket [Internet shares],” PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan said.

Smart Tower is a 36-story office building along Ayala Ave which is used by Smart Communications as its headquarters. PLDT also owns other properties in Makati, such as the Ramon Cojuangco Building along Makati Ave. and the Makati General Office along Dela Rosa Street.

PLDT currently holds 1.9 million shares or a 2-percent stake in Rocket Internet valued at about P2.5 billion.  The telecom company sold a 4.1-percent stake in the German Internet company worth P10.5 billion in May 2018.

PLDT bought a 10-percent stake in Rocket Internet for 333 million euros or $445 million in 2014 and sold 4.1-percent in 2018.  The proceeds were used to  partly finance the company’s P58-billion capital expenditures in 2018. 

Rocket is a Berlin-based internet company that builds online startups and owns shareholdings in various models of internet retail businesses. It has stakes in major e-commerce platforms and startups in Southeast Asia including Zalora, Lamudi, Carmudi, Traveloka and Foodpanda.

Pangilinan earlier said its 2020 capital expenditures would be slightly higher than the P78.4-billion capex in 2019. 

About 75 percent of its 2019 capex went to network and IT systems including investments in increased LTE coverage and capacity, expanded fiber transport to support both fixed broadband and mobile data and new international cable networks. 

PLDT earlier reported a net income of  P16 billion in the first nine months of 2019, down by 2 percent from the same period in 2018. 

Core income amounted to P19.4 billion, up 1 percent  from 2018, excluding the impact of equity in losses from Voyager and gains from the sale of Rocket Internet shares. 

Consolidated service revenues increased 8 percent to P116.3 billion—the highest nine-month revenue ever attained by PLDT, surpassing the previous peak in 2014. 

The company’s three major business groups—consumer wireless, PLDT Home and PLDT Enterprise—generated P109.4 billion in revenues, up 11 percent from a year earlier and making up 94 percent of total service revenues. 

Consumer wireless set the pace, climbing by 20 percent to P52.6 billion.   Data and broadband, representing 66 percent of total service revenues, went up 20 percent to P76.7 billion.

Topics: PLDT Inc. , Smart Tower , Makati City , Rocket Internet , PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan , Smart Communications
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