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PT&T ready to spend $250M for its comeback bid

/ 04:06 AM September 27, 2021

Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (PT&T) is planning to invest $250 million over the next two years to expand its broadband footprint in Luzon.

PT&T chief executive James Velasquez told the Inquirer the company would bankroll the effort through debt and equity fundraising, with an investor roadshow eyed around the first quarter of 2022.

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This would also require the lifting of a long-standing trading suspension of its shares on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), which he said was currently being addressed.

“What is important is expanding our network where we are, which is Metro Manila and Calabarzon,” he said, referring to the provinces of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, Quezon and Rizal.

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First phase

Other areas of expansion were information technology and managed services for businesses, Velasquez noted.

He said the investment budget was just the first phase of a plan to go nationwide. Phase one would allow PT&T’s broadband services to reach about seven million households and business customers from less than a million today.

Velasquez said PT&T has yet to finalize the amount to be raised.

Last week, the company’s board of directors approved a plan to increase its authorized capital to a maximum of P11.8 billion, comprised of common and preferred shares, from the current P3.8 billion.

The board also approved to change its corporate name to “PT&T Corp.” during its annual meeting last Sept. 24.

“The increase in PT&T’s authorized capital stock was approved in anticipation of the expansion and development of its business and its compliance with the debt-to-equity conversion mandated under the rehabilitation plan,” PT&T said in a PSE disclosure.

Revival efforts

Established in the 1960s, PT&T was once a giant in the telecommunication space before it was overtaken by competitors and forced to enter rehabilitation in the wake of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

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In 2004, PT&T sought the trading suspension of its shares, stating it could no longer comply with the reportorial requirements of the PSE.

Major efforts to exit rehabilitation were revived after the group of Salvador Zamora II and Benjamin Bitanga took over PT&T in 2017.

During the annual meeting, PT&T also announced the appointment of Roberto “Bob” Ortiz as company chair. He replaced Zamora, who was tapped to lead the presidential campaign of boxer-senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao.

Ortiz has been an independent director of PT&T since 2018. He is also the chief financial officer and director of publicly listed Premiere Horizon Alliance Corp. INQ

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