PLDT completes sale of 27% ePLDT stake to Philweb

The P4.31-billion sale – which was done in 4 tranches since July 2012 – involves 27% of PLDT's wholly-owned subsidiary ePLDT Incorporated


FINISHED TRANSACTION. The PLDT group completed the last tranche of ePLDT's sale to Philweb.File photo by Rappler/Aya Lowe

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) concluded the sale of 27% of its stake in ePLDT Incorporated to Roberto Ongpin’s Philweb Corporation.

In a disclosure to the Philippines Stock Exchange (PSE) on Friday, December 13, PLDT first vice president Melissa Vergel de Dios said that the PLDT Group has finalized the sale of the 397.892 million common shares of its wholly-owned subsidiary to Philweb Casino Corporation (PCC).

The share purchase agreement, signed on July 10, 2012, was implemented in 4 tranches:

* 93.457 million shares at P10.7 per share, for a total of P999.98 million, on July 13, 2012

* 93.457 million shares at P10.7 per share, for a total of P999.98 million, on Oct 19, 2012.

* 93.457 million common shares at P10.8632 per share (with an adjustment of 3% per annum on top of the base price of P10.7 per share), for a total of P1.015 billion, on June 13, 2013

* 117.518 million common shares at P11.0264 per share, for a total of P1.296 billion, on December13.

The sale of ePLDT is part of the PLDT group’s convergence strategy, which seeks to expand the group’s participation in media conglomerates. This includes the possible purchase of media outfits such as GMA Network to strengthen the operations of TV5, and the acquistion of interests in The Philippine Star, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and the BusinessWorld. (READ: PLDT OKs add’l investments in media units)

The PLDT Group has been unloading its non-core business as well. Last March, the group sold its business process outsourcing (BPO) firm SPI Global Holdings Incorporated to Asia Outsourcing Gamma Ltd (AOGL) of European private equity firm CVC Capital Partners. The sale was valued at over $300 million.

The group posted a P29-billion net income from January to September this year, and recorded a 2% growth compared to the same period in 2012. The PLDT group attributed the growth to the P1.1-billion increase of its core net income, and to the P2 billion it earned from the sale of SPI Global. 

These gains, however, were offset by the P2.4 billion net foreign exchange and derivative losses and the adjustments in Philippine Accounting Standard (PAS) 19.

The group’s consolidated service revenues also increased by 2% to P121.6 billion as of end of September 2013. This was attributed to the 1% increase of revenues from mobile short messaging system (SMS), cellular domestic and local exchange carrier revenues, and the 15% increase of its non-SMS data revenues.

PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan expressed confidence that the PLDT Group would be able to turn around its financial conditions in 2013 since the operating conditions for the whole industry have been favorable in the first 9 months of the year.

“The competitive environment has remained intense but, with consolidation, has also allowed for growth. With the additional lift from the country’s positive economic situation, we are confident this is the year PLDT will turn the corner and return to a growth track,” Pangilinan said.

PLDT’s mobile subscriber base as of end of September was at 72.5 million. Its subsidiary, Smart Communication Incorporated, had 24.7 million subscribers, while Talk ‘N Text had 31.9 million subscribers, and Digitel Telecommunications Philippines Incorporated through Sun Cellular had 15.8 million subscribers.

PLDT’s combined broadband subscriber base, on the other hand, stood at 3.3 million from January to September this year, while the fixed line business of both PLDT and Digitel had a subscriber base of 2.1 million. –

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