Philippine economy

Liberty Telecoms to lease base stations to raise cash

Chrisee Dela Paz
We need cash to support our existing assets, Liberty President and CEO Bienvenido Bañas says

NEEDS CASH. Liberty Telecoms plans to lease some its assets in its effort to be profitable in the next years. File photo by Rappler  

MANILA, Philippines – Shortly after its early exit from its rehabilitation plan, Liberty Telecoms Holdings Incorporated plans to lease over 250 base stations in Metro Manila to other telecom companies to generate revenue.

Liberty president and CEO Bienvenido Bañas said that with its estimated 500 base stations in Metro Manila, it plans to “lease out more than half of those to other telcos.”

“We really need cash to support the existing assets and that’s one way to generate cash. [We’re eyeing to lease out] more than half of the stations within Metro Manila,” Bañas told reporters on the sidelines of the annual stockholders’ meeting of the Ramon Ang-led telco.

This came on the heels of its announced early exit from its rehabilitation plan.

Last month, the Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 149 presiding Judge Cesar Untalan said rehabilitation receiver Monico Jacob filed a recommendation to terminate rehabilitation proceedings of the Liberty Group before the lower court last May 8.

Jacob said in his recommendation that the objectives of the rehabilitation have been successfully met.

The Liberty Group was placed under corporate rehabilitation and debt restructuring after it suspended its operations in April 2005 due to lack of capital required to operate.

The Makati court approved the revised rehabilitation plan of the Liberty Group in December 2006.

Under the plan, the company’s original schedule of getting out of rehabilitation is in December 2016.

“Exiting rehab will provide us various opportunities we haven’t discussed yet. The management of the company is trying to find new ways of generating revenues, find ways to maximize existing telco assets of the company,” Bañas said.

Liberty Telecoms is still pursuing plans to launch various services in the telecommunication industry despite the dominance of major players led by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) and Ayala-led Globe Telecom Incorporated.

Liberty Telecoms chairman and SMC president Ramon S. Ang earlier disclosed that the company intends to venture into the mobile business to provide voice calls, short messaging system (SMS) or text messaging, as well as mobile broadband by 2016.

The Ang-led telco managed to trim its total comprehensive loss by 31.7% to P210.16 million ($4.73 million) in the first quarter of the year from P307.58 million ($6.93 million) in the same period last year.

Its revenues declined by 1.44% to P77.25 million ($1.74 million) in the first 3 months of the year from P80.27 million ($1.81 million) in the same period last year.

Likewise, the company managed to reduce its cost and expenses by 13.1% to P280.94 million ($6.33 million) from P323.4 million ($7.28 million) amid lower retail and utilities; taxes and licenses; professional fees; personnel costs; repairs and maintenance, commission expenses, among others.

The company’s deficit, however, stood at P10 billion ($225.22 million) as of end-March this year, but its major shareholders remained fully committed to support the operations of the Liberty Group. – Rappler.com

$1=P44.68

Image of base station from Shutterstock