PLDT to tap $500M loan from Japan banks
MANILA, Philippines–The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. group is borrowing about $500 million from Japanese banks to partly fund the capital requirements of both PLDT and Smart Communications.
PLDT senior vice president treasurer Annabelle L. Chua said the first deal covering a $200- million loan from Mizuho Bank was signed last month.
Before the Japanese fiscal year calendar ends this month, the agreement for another $200-million loan will be signed with the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd.
Additional loans, possibly reaching $100 million, may be signed with the bank over the next few quarters, Chua said.
“We are still finalizing it (the loan details),” Chua said.
The PLDT group plans to fund its P39-billion ($883 million) capital expenditure program for 2015 with a combination of bank borrowings and pregenerated cash, Chua said.
The bulk of the capital expenditure this year was earmarked for the telco’s 3G and 4G infrastructure, PLDT chair Manuel V. Pangilinan said.
PLDT president Napoleon L. Nazareno said the company would continue to “transform” to meet the growing demand for Internet connectivity and data access. Part of the transformation efforts is the activation of more 3G base stations and the expansion of its Time Division-Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) and Frequency Division-LTE (FD-LTE).
As of the end of 2014, the PLDT group’s gross debt stood at $2.9 billion, higher by $600 million from year-ago level, mainly due its the P15-billion ($300 million) retail bond issuance in the first quarter of 2014.
PLDT said its debt maturity continued to be well spread out, with $227-million worth of bonds maturing in 2017. More than 50 percent of the total debt, including the retail bonds, will fall due beyond 2018.
PLDT was given investment grade by three major international ratings agencies, namely, Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard and Poor’s/S&P National.
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