Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) is acquiring Philippine Global Communications (Philcom) through a debt-to-equity swap. In a filing to the Philippine Stock Exchange, PLDT confirmed it signed an agreement with Philcom’s owner PremierGlobal Resources Corp on 2 January to acquire 100% of the unit’s outstanding financial obligations for PHP340 million (USD7.3 million); the obligations were acquired by PremierGlobal from Philcom’s lenders. PLDT has also entered into a deal with Philcom to transfer the unit’s rights and common stock shares to the larger operator for PHP75 million. PLDT hopes to use the acquisition as a means of expanding its presence in Mindaneo where it already offers services via PLDT-Maratel and Smart Broadband. Philcom offers a range of dedicated voice services to private telephone lines and also offers internet access to end users. The purchase is subject to the necessary regulatory approval from the National Telecommunications Commission.
In a separate story, Telecommunications Technologies Philippines Inc (Teletech), a wholly owned subsidiary of Eastern Telecommunications Philippines Inc (Eastern Telecom), has finally been granted rights to offer services in additional areas of the country following a three-year wait for approval. In 2006 it applied to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for rights to establish, install, operate and maintain local exchange services (LEC) in the provinces of Rizal, Quezon, Batangas, Cavite and Laguna (collectively known as the Calabarzon area) located in southern Luzon, apart from its existing areas in the National Capital Region (NCR) and in the Cagayan Valley Region. The NTC has finally approved Teletech’s application despite opposition from other carriers such as PLDT, Digital Telecommunications, Philippine Telephone and Telegraph Corp and Cruz Telephone. It is understood Teletech has set aside USD27.41 million for expansion work in southern Luzon. CAPEX until 2010 is expected to reach USD23.28 million, while operational expenses are estimated at USD4.13 million.