DITO says spending over P50B in 2022; downplays DITO CME's scuttled share sale

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 03 2022 03:32 PM

MANILA - DITO Telecommunity on Thursday said it would keep its commitment to the government and to the Filipino public as it plans to spend over P50 billion for its network rollout in 2022.

The country's third major telco issued the statement after DITO CME, which holds a controlling stake in the telco, deferred its P8 billion stock rights offer due to "unfavorable market conditions." 

Proceeds from the DITO CME's stock rights offer were supposed to be funneled to DITO telco's expansion.

DITO telco's chief administrative officer Adel Tamano declined to comment on the impact of the deferred fundraising activity on the telco's finances. 

However, in a virtual briefing, Tamano told reporters that the P50 billion budget for the year is already available and is even significantly higher than the P27 billion it earlier committed to spend on its third year.

“We’re spending more than P50 billion and that funding is already there. We’re not going to comment on DITO CME, what they said the stock rights was for…Nandun na ang pera (The money is there),” Tamano said. 

Dennis Uy's Udenna Corp owns 60 percent of DITO Telecommunity through DITO CME and two other holding companies, while China Telecom holds the remaining 40 percent stake in the telco. 

Tamano meanwhile said DITO telco and DITO CME are separate entities.

“What we are telling you now is that 'yung network rollout namin (our), which is the primary thing that we’re doing, fully funded ‘yan,” he added.

For its third-year technical audit, DITO committed to cover 70 percent of the population.

So far, the company has 4,500 towers but it would take 4,600 to 4,800 towers to cover 70 percent of the population, DITO chief technology officer Rodolfo Santiago said.

This means DITO is just about 300 towers away from meeting its commitment for the year. 

The technical audit will be conducted in July.

Aside from loans and equity, Tamano said its long-term debt arrangements are almost done. 

"Long term loan is pretty much secure," Tamano said. 

DITO CME chief financial officer Joseph Ong earlier said they have secured commitments of $4 billion in long-term debt from foreign investors. 

Tamano said the third telco had already hit the 6 million subscribers mark.

DITO, which launched its commercial operations in March 2021, said it is still far from gaining a huge chunk of the market share. 

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