PLDT unit seals partial sale of Rocket Internet stake

MANILA, Philippines – A unit of PLDT Incorporated sold bulk of its shares in Rocket Internet SE, a German investor in technology start-ups, for a total of about €163.2 million (P10.10 billion), with the proceeds going toward its historic high capital spending budget for the year.

PLDT told the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) on Monday, May 7, that its indirect subsidiary, PLDT Online Investments Private Limited, has accepted the public share purchase offer for at least 6.8 million of its Rocket Internet shares, or about 67.4% of the total number it directly holds.

Its Rocket Internet shares were priced at €24 (P1,485.92) each.

PLDT said Rocket Internet will settle the consideration on or before May 14.

As a result of the sale, PLDT's equity ownership in Rocket Internet was reduced from 6.1% to 2%.

During Rocket Internet's debut on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on October 2, 2014, its share price was at €37 (P2,382.71) each.

On Monday, Rocket Internet shares dipped to €24.56 (P1,520.84) each.

It was in August 2017 when Rocket Internet announced the buyback of over 15.47 million shares through a public share purchase offer, for €24 per share.

Three years before, PLDT invested €333 million ($362 million) for a 10% stake in the German firm, marking its biggest overseas investment to date. It was then diluted further to a 6.1% ownership stake.

For the remaining 2% stake, PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan said he is not in a hurry to dispose of all of it, as the company banks on the optimistic prospects of the Berlin-based tech investor's financial perfomance in the coming months.

"There's no pressure on the part of PLDT to dispose [of] the remaining one-third," Pangilinan told reporters back in April. (READ: PLDT not in hurry to fully divest from Rocket Internet– Rappler.com

P61.9085 = €1