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Business

PLDT nears sale of 49 percent stake in data centers

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star
PLDT nears sale of 49 percent stake in data centers
PLDT is expected to sign in July a firm agreement with a foreign entity for the partial sale of its data centers, but the telco will keep majority control of 51 percent in the business.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Telco leader PLDT Inc. will give up a 49 percent share in its data centers to a foreign company in exchange for cash, succeeding in raising the valuation of its portfolio to more than $1 billion.

PLDT is expected to sign in July a firm agreement with a foreign entity for the partial sale of its data centers, but the telco will keep majority control of 51 percent in the business.

PLDT chairman, president and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said proceeds from the sale would be used to settle maturing debts in line with the push to improve the telco’s financial health.

In the process, PLDT is scrapping the possibility of listing a real estate investment trust (REIT) at the Philippine Stock Exchange for its data center business. Pangilinan said listing a REIT would take time and PLDT wants the proceeds now for debt payments.

In a May report by Reuters, PLDT was said to be negotiating with Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone for the potential sale of 49 percent of its data centers. Back then, the transaction was reported to amount to $750 million.

PLDT, through VITRO Inc., operates 10 data centers with a capacity of 50 megawatts, but it eyes to double this once its largest facility in Sta. Rosa, Laguna is switched on in July.

Further, the largest telco in the Philippines has no intent of stepping on the brakes anytime soon, as it is exploring the opportunity of putting up a 12th, 13th and 14th facility.

PLDT wants to make money from the emerging industry of data centers to reduce its debt level, which stands at P242.2 billion as of March.

On the broadband side of the business, PLDT is entering the low-cost market at last, recognizing the growing demand for prepaid internet in an inflationary environment. PLDT plans to launch in July its prepaid offering specifically made for low-income customers.

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