KKR investing in PH firm building common telco towers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 03 2020 02:28 PM

KKR investing in PH firm building common telco towers 1
A cellular tower in Caloocan City. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News file photo

MANILA – Global investment firm KKR said Tuesday it is investing in Pinnacle Towers, a company that is building common telco towers in the Philippines.

Pinnacle is the parent firm of Frontier Tower Associates Philippines Inc (FTAP), one of the first independent tower companies in the Philippines to secure a provisional license to operate from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). 

“With the investment, Pinnacle aims to strengthen and expand the Philippines’ telecom infrastructure at a time when Filipino mobile users increasingly demand reliable data-rich, high-speed, affordable connectivity, and more generally to address the rapidly growing demands for telecom infrastructure in and around Southeast Asia,” KKR said. 

David Luboff, Partner and Head of Asia Pacific Infrastructure at KKR, said the Philippines’ telecommunications sector has grown rapidly in the past few years amid the increasing demand for connectivity. 

“Our investment in Pinnacle reiterates our commitment to addressing this need and supporting the Philippines’ transition to a connected, digital nation. We look forward to assisting the Pinnacle team to deliver the benefits of a more digitally enabled economy to the Filipino people, especially in growing regions such as Visayas and Mindanao,” Luboff said.

Patrick Tangney, chairman and CEO of Pinnacle, said the company would benefit from KKR’s experience in managing telecom infrastructure projects across the world. 

“KKR’s investment comes at a pivotal time: the Philippines – and Asia more generally – is one of the world’s fastest-growing and most dynamic mobile markets. Improving telecom infrastructure has become a key priority, especially in our current environment,” said Tangney. 

The government has said that the country needs to build 50,000 telco towers over the next few years for the Philippines' telco infrastructure to be at par with its neighbors in Southeast Asia. 

Globe Telecom and PLDT Inc’s Smart have 20,000 towers combined, while third telco DITO Telecommunity committed to building at least 1,300 towers before its commercial launch next year.

The investment represents KKR’s second infrastructure investment in the Philippines and its fourth overall investment with a focus on the market.

Two years ago, KKR also invested in PLDT’s fintech arm Voyager Innovations. 

Earlier this year, KKR announced it was buying an 11.9 percent stake of independent power producer First Gen Corp.