ABS-CBN to raise funds for shift to digital TV

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08:18 PM April 23rd, 2013

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By: Miguel R. Camus, April 23rd, 2013 08:18 PM

ABS-CBN Corp., the listed broadcast arm of the Lopez group, may raise fresh funds through the sale of debt notes or equity, or a combination of the two, this year to partly fund a government-mandated shift to digital television and support new business lines.

ABS-CBN has yet to finalize the fundraising plan but chair Eugenio Lopez III ruled out the possible entry of strategic investors as he told reporters on Tuesday that the intention was to bring in only “financial investors.”

Still, talks with several unnamed groups were described by chief financial officer Rolando Valdueza as “exploratory.”

He said ABS-CBN has so far tapped ING Bank as financial adviser.

The company has been restructuring its capital, which involved the issuance of voting preferred shares, to give it the flexibility to tap the equities market.

In the meantime, stockholders of ABS-CBN approved the removal of their preemptive rights to future share issuances.

“We have several programmed initiatives and one is very well known, the shift to digital terrestrial television,” Lopez told reporters following the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting.

“There are other initiatives that have to do with our digital online programs but we are not at liberty to divulge what these are,” he added.

ABS-CBN posted a 29-percent decline in its 2012 net income to P1.71 billion mainly due to the absence of the one-time gain posted  in the  previous year. Consolidated revenue during the period rose by 13 percent to P28.4 billion, led by higher advertising revenue and consumer sales.

Valdueza declined to comment on the company’s earnings outlook, noting that first quarter figures, scheduled for release on May 15,  should be better year-on-year.

ABS-CBN shares closed down by 0.11 percent to P42.50 each on Tuesday.

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