Philippines operator PLDT has officially announced the sale and leaseback of its towers to Edgepoint and Edotco for PHP77 billion (US$1.46bn), a move it claimed will improve tower density and boost coverage in the country.
In a statement, the operator group detailed its subsidiaries Smart and Digitel Mobile Philippines signed over 5,907 telecom towers and passive infrastructure for the “landmark” billion-dollar deal, the largest acquisitions deal in the Philippines by international firms.
Of the total number of towers sold, 2,973 located in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao were acquired by ISOC Edotco Towers a subsidiary of Edotco. Meanwhile, 2,934 towers located in Luzon were bought by EdgePoint subsidiary Comworks Infratech.
PLDT stated upon completion of the deals the two companies will become the largest tower operators in the country. The first closing of the deal is expected in May this year with the last closing by Q4.
PLDT mobile brand Smart has agreed to lease the towers back for a period of 10 years, with ISOC and Comsworks Infratech taking maintenance responsibilities, and pledging to build 1,500 additional towers over the next few years.
PLDT claimed Smart will continue to see operational and capital expenditure savings due to its status as an anchor tenant.
Both companies possess “extensive experience” in the telecoms tower space, and the ability to recover connectivity faster during natural disasters.
Edotco has over 54,000 towers in its portfolio spanning nine countries in Asia. Meanwhile, EdgePoint owns around 10,000 towers across Indonesia and Malaysia.
PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan said: “This partnership with experienced international tower companies represents another milestone in PLDT’s strategic transformation.
“We expect to reap benefits in terms of a valuation uplift and capital reallocation with PLDT applying the proceeds to deleverage, further invest in the network, and return cash to shareholders via a special dividend.”