DITO open to bigger foreign funds with Public Service Act changes
MANILA, Philippines—DITO Telecommunity Corp., a venture between Davao-based businessman Dennis A. Uy’s Udenna Corp. and China Telecom, is open to tapping more foreign investments to support its nationwide rollout and challenge industry giants PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom.
Congress on Wednesday (Feb. 2) ratified amendments to the Public Service Act that reclassified entities—like telecommunications and transport firms—to allow full foreign ownership in these industries.
Telecommunications and transport are two industries which the 1987 Constitution limits to Filipino-owned companies and those with only 40 percent foreign ownership.
Luring more foreign investment was “something we can look into”, DITO Telecommunity chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said on Thursday (Feb. 3).
“We do see it as positive that you are opening up investments in the telco space because as you can see with our conversations, for telco, you need huge investments,” Tamano told reporters at a media briefing.
“And if the local market cannot provide that money, then foreign investors really are needed,” he added.
Tamano did not comment directly on restrictions in the bill that prevented state-owned enterprises—like China Telecom—from increasing its 40 percent stake in DITO Telecommunity.
“We are still studying it. I think what I do want to say categorically is the 40 percent of China Telecom is unimpaired,” Tamano said.
Officials of PLDT and Globe earlier downplayed the advancement of the bill, stating there was no present need for added foreign investments.
“There is no desire to increase foreign equity in PLDT at present, so in that sense, PLDT is neutral on this issue,” PLDT president and CEO Alfredo Panlilio said last December.
PLDT’s foreign shareholders included the billionaire Salim family of Indonesia and Japan’s NTT Group while Globe Telecom is partly owned by Singapore Telecommunications.
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