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PLDT eyes P50-B capex for 2018

/ 05:04 AM December 21, 2017

PLDT Inc. is entering 2018 with a record spending budget of more than P50 billion, company chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said yesterday.

The capital spending (capex) figure, almost a third higher than the P38 billion earmarked for 2017, comes as PLDT and main rival Globe Telecom continue to lure criticisms from the Duterte administration, which wants a telco from China to enter and become a third industry player.

“We will announce a historic high capex next year, north of P50 billion,” Pangilinan told reporters. “We want to make a statement… and we want to make sure we will future-proof our network.”

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Pangilinan said the bulk of the funds would be used to bolster its fixed-line and wireless internet network.

PLDT wants to address complaints of “slow” internet, while fending off potential new competition, which the government identified as China Telecom in partnership with a local group. It wants a deal with China sealed by the first quarter of 2018.

He said though that new competition was welcome.

Pangilinan said the group was also optimistic the government would help ease regulatory bottlenecks that had prevented PLDT from rolling out crucial cellular and fixed-line infrastructure at a faster pace.

“That is part of the solution. Facilitating the processing of relevant licenses…That’s an issue for all of us, old and new,” he said.

To finance its plans, he said PLDT would not borrow but would likely rely on asset sales.

Pangilinan cited receivables from affiliate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. from the sale of its power assets. He earlier said PLDT could raise funds from the sale of its 6.6-percent stake in technology firm Rocket Internet.

PLDT had planned to spend P46 billion in 2017. It was later reduced since the timing of certain projects was pushed back to 2018.

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TAGS: Business, Manuel V. Pangilinan, PLDT Inc.
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