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DITO secures $3.9-B loan for network expansion

DITO CME Holdings Corp. said its subsidiary DITO Telecommunity Corp. had secured a $3.9-billion 15-year long-term loan facility, the company said on Thursday.

Proceeds from the loan will fund the unit’s network expansion and improvement of its digital services, the Dennis A. Uy-led holding firm told the stock exchange.

It said the loan facility will be one of its largest long-term debts to date, arranged and syndicated by a group of multinational banks.

“This project finance facility represents strategic trust and confidence in the vision of the Company to be a major enabler of digital services in the Philippines,” Ernesto R. Alberto, DITO CME president, said.

The company added that it targets to use the loan proceeds to pay short-term bridge loan facilities amounting to $1.3 billion, with the remaining amount allotted to contractors and the unit’s network rollout.

“This will further improve the quality of access and user experience,” it said, while “accelerating the take up of its FWA 5G (fixed wireless access-fifth-generation) and mobile postpaid product offerings.” 

DITO CME is the information and communications technology holding firm of Udenna Corp., which houses Mr. Uy’s other investments.

The loan comes after DITO CME disclosed in August that two unrelated third-party subscribers to its shares had cornered as much as 13.55% of the holding firm.

DITO CME said the net proceeds of the transaction are to be fully invested in DITO Telecommunity, which is considered the third dominant telecommunications company in the Philippines.

The company finished the second quarter with an attributable net loss of P1.1 billion, shrinking from its P4.63-billion loss recorded a year ago.

In a separate disclosure on Thursday, Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Inc., the listed oil firm under the Udenna group, said its board had approved the proposed amendment to the company’s article of incorporation to include manufacturing, processing, selling, marketing and distributing coco methyl ester (CME).

CME can be converted to a diesel-like product, which in turn can be blended with petroleum diesel, allowing the utilization of cleaner alternative fuel brands.

The listed oil company also said that its board had greenlit the proposed authority for management to transfer, sell and dispose of certain corporate properties, assets and investments as part of its debt management and funding activities.

For the second quarter, Phoenix Petroleum suffered a net loss of P1.1 billion from an attributable net income of P143.48 million in the same period last year.

The company recorded a gross revenue of P14.60 billion for the April-to-June period, 63.2% lower than the P39.70 billion last year.

At the local bourse on Thursday, shares in Phoenix Petroleum closed four centavos lower or 0.71% at P5.59 each, while shares in DITO CME gained 19 centavos or 9.55% to end at P2.18 apiece. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

Neil Banzuelo

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