PLDT nears P77-B tower sale deal completion

PLDT Inc., backed by Indonesian billionaire Anthony Salim-led First Pacific, on Monday reported receiving the second tranche of its P77 billion tower sale deal, the largest sale of Philippine assets to international investors.

In a stock exchange report, PLDT confirmed receiving P13.2 billion in cash as payment for 1,013 towers representing the second closing on the sale and leaseback of the company to a subsidiary of EdgePoint and a subsidiary of Edotco Group.

PLDT is selling 5,907 telecom towers. EdgePoint, controlled by New York-listed DigitalBridge and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, bought over 2,934 towers in Luzon. At the same time, Edotco, a unit of Malaysian telecom giant Axiata, has agreed to acquire 4,025 towers across the Philippines, representing 68 percent of the towers portfolio subject to the sale.

PLDT expects additional closings in the next few months since the transaction is staggered based on the number of towers transferred. The final closing is expected by the last quarter of the year.

PLDT and its subsidiaries — Smart Communications, Inc. and Digitel Mobile Philippines, Inc. — signed the sale and purchase deals last April.

Of the 5,907 towers monetized, 2,973 located in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao will be acquired by ISOC edotco Towers, Inc. and 2,934 in Luzon by Comworks Infratech Corp.

According to PLDT, a new tower build commitment of 1,500 towers in the next few years will complement the sale and leaseback. It will further solidify Smart’s superior network quality and enhance the best customer experience in the Philippines.

Edotco Group manages over 54,000 towers across nine countries in Asia and is majority-owned by Axiata Group, a major telecom operator in Asia.

EdgePoint, on the other hand, owns approximately 10,000 towers across Indonesia and Malaysia.

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