MANILA, Philippines - Liberty Telecoms Holdings Inc., a joint venture between food-to-power conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and state-owned Qatar Telecom, incurred a net loss of P192.46 million in the first quarter, due largely to increased spending for the reactivation of its telecommunications business.
Liberty Telecoms said that the launching of its broadband services by its unit, Liberty Broadcasting Network, Inc. (LBNI), drove up expenses in the first quarter.
Liberty Telecoms is targeting to close the year with a 70,000 subscriber base. It launched early this year its broadband service under the brand Wi-Tribe, and has so far, signed up 11,000 subscribers.
The company revived its business in 2009, four years after suspending operations as the company's capital dwindled and could no longer sustain operations.
Last year, it reported a net loss of P557 million.
In re-establishing its business, the company's expenses soared by more than 200% to P42.47 million in the first quarter as it hiked salaries and benefits of its workforce. The company also shelled out more money for rental and utilities, as well as for rentals of sites for its Wimax services.
Liberty is 42.13% owned by Vega Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SMC, and 24.12% by Qtel West Bay Holding SPC, owned by Wi-Tribe AQsia Ltd. which in turn, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qatar Telecom. The other owners are White Dawn Solution Holdings with a 17% stake, and Wi-Tribe Asia Ltd. with 9.9% interest.