PLDT keeping data centers for now amid business’ growth promise | Inquirer Business
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TELCO ONLY RESORTING TO SALE OF CELL TOWERS

PLDT keeping data centers for now amid business’ growth promise

/ 04:05 AM March 15, 2022

PLDT Inc. chair Manuel V. Pangilinan said there was no urgency to sell their data center business as the company finalizes a deal to raise over P50 billion from the divestment of cell tower assets.

The sale of cell towers would relieve some of the “financial pressure” PLDT was facing as it set out to increase margins and lower debts in 2022, Pangilinan explained in a recent briefing.

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“I think when the sale [of cell towers] does get completed in the course of the year, I think that should be enough to satisfy the financial targets and financial requirements of the company moving forward, particularly in relation to our goal of producing positive free cash flows and reducing debts,” Pangilinan said when asked about plans to sell the data center business.

Pangilinan revealed PLDT was approached by foreign companies about the potential sale of its data centers but he said the company was still keen on growing the segment.
“That is something we should examine: how other data centers and similar entities have been successful, not only in their home markets but also globally. It’s a very interesting business model to emulate,” Pangilinan said.

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PLDT, which is lowering capital spending from P89 billion last year to below P80 billion in 2022, is the country’s largest data center operator with a portfolio spanning 10 facilities with a combined 48-megawatt power capacity.

Last month, it announced plans to build a series of data center facilities in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, to add another 100 MW of capacity.

PLDT’s chief competitor, Globe Telecom, has decided to grow its data center segment by selling a stake to a strategic investor.

Globe announced earlier this month it would sell a partial stake to Singapore-based ST Telemedia Global Data Centres, thus forming a $350-million data center venture with parent firm Ayala Corp.

Globe said proceeds of about $100 million would be used for its own expansion. It plans to expand data center capacity by up to 100 MW in the “mid to long-term.” This would add to the telco’s existing six data centers with a maximum power capacity of 30 MW.

The Philippines has seen a rising trend in data center investments as businesses ramp up internet and cloud services.

Santos Knight Frank earlier estimated the country’s current total data center capacity at 94 MW. Due to booming demand, the real estate consultant said operators have over the past year expressed interest to supply another 125 MW of data center capacity.

—Miguel R. Camus INQ

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TAGS: Business, PLDT
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