PLDT raises P8.8 B from notes issue

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at Sep 22 2012 11:12 AM | Updated as of Sep 23 2012 02:32 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Dominant carrier Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) raised P8.8 billion after investors yesterday gobbled up the fixed rate corporate notes issued by the telecom provider.

PLDT assistant corporate secretary Florentino Mabasa Jr. said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) that proceeds of the issuance of the seven- and 10-year fixed rate corporate notes would be used to refinance the company’s existing debt.

The seven-year notes carried an interest of 5.6038 percent while the 10-year debt paper fetched 5.6423 percent.

“Proceeds from the said facility would be used to refinance PLDT’s existing debts in line with the company’s liability management initiatives to reduce financing costs and extend its debt maturities,” Mabasa stressed.

PLDT tapped BPI Capital Corp. and First Metro Investment Corp. as joint issue managers for the fund raising activity aimed at managing the PLDT Group’s liabilities.

The financial report of PLDT Group as of June showed that it has a long-term debt of P112.77 billion, more than half of which or P58.49 billion as scheduled to mature between 2012 and 2015.

Wireless subsidiary Smart Communications Inc. accounted for P24.73 billion of the group’s total maturing debt between 2012 and 2015 as of end June while PLDT accounted for P22.71 billion.

Digital Telecommunications of the Philippines (Digitel), acquired from taipan John Gokongwei for P69.2 billion, had a maturing debt of P10.58 billion between 2012 and 2015 while SPi Global had P487 million.

Amid the lower income in the first half of the year, PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan earlier said the dominant carrier is still well on its way to meeting its profit guidance of P37 billion for this year.

“We will continue to exert our utmost effort to get back on the profit growth track as quickly as we can, as we harness the opportunities for synergy within the Group. We maintain our Core Net Income guidance for the full year 2012 at P37 billion,” Pangilinan stressed

PLDT’s profits slipped by eight percent to P19.5 billion in the first half of the year from P21.3 billion in the same period last year as it continued to consolidate the operations of Digitel that was acquired late last year.

Data showed that PLDT’s overall consolidated service revenues jumped 12 percent to P84.7 billion for the first six months of the year from P37.91 billion in the same period last year.

Latest data showed that PLDT Group’s cellular subscriber base increased by 3.7 million to 67.4 million while total broadband subscribers at 3.1 million. Wireless subsidiary Smart Communications Inc had 26.9 million subscribers under its mainstream Smart brands, while value brand Talk ‘N Text ended has 24 million subscribers.

Digitel had 15.9 million Sun Cellular subscribers while Smart subsidiary CURE’s Red Mobile brand had 600,000 subscribers.

On the other hand, the Group’s combined broadband subscriber base hit the 3.1 million mark at the end of the first half of 2012, representing net additions of about 134,000 for the PLDT Group’s various broadband services including SmartBro and PLDT’s DSL.