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BPI to finance largest Philippine asset acquisition by international investors

The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) recently signed two term loan facility agreements that enabled the landmark sale of PLDT, Inc.’s (PLDT’s) telecom towers to two leading international tower operators. ComWorks Infratech, Corp. (CIC) and ISOC edotco Towers, Inc. (ISOC edotco), were the winning bidders in the sale by PLDT through its subsidiaries, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and Digitel Mobile Philippines, Inc. (Digitel), of a total 5,907 telecom towers for an aggregate amount of PHP 77 billion.

For both loan facilities, BPI Capital Corporation acted as the Mandated Lead Arranger, while BPI Asset Management and Trust Corporation acted as Facility Agent and Security Agent.

The facility agreements document the terms of the financing that both bidders will require to partially fund their respective acquisition of the tower assets.

CIC, a subsidiary of EdgePoint Holdco Pte. Ltd. (EdgePoint), was awarded a portfolio of 2,934 tower assets located in Luzon; while ISOC edotco, a subsidiary of edotco Investments (Labuan) Ltd. (edotco Investments) owned by edotco Group Sdn Bhd (edotco Group), was awarded a portfolio of 2,973 towers assets located in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. EdgePoint and edotco Group are international groups with extensive experience in telecom tower operations in Asia.

“We are pleased to enable this pioneering deal that will help accelerate the growth of the telecommunications industry. More than ever, connectivity plays a crucial role and BPI is committed to support these types of innovative and strategic acquisitions that will significantly contribute to a better Philippines,” said Jose Teodoro “TG” K. Limcaoco, BPI President and CEO.

Earlier, Smart also entered into Master Services Agreements with CIC and ISOC edotco whereby Smart agreed to lease back the towers sold in the transactions for a period of 10 years. The sale and leaseback will also be complemented by a new tower build commitment of 1,500 towers in total over the next few years from each of CIC and ISOC edotco.

Under the terms of the credit agreements, BPI will extend financing to the two tower companies involved in the PHP 77 billion landmark sale and leaseback towers deal, which represents the largest cross-border acquisition in the technology, media and telecommunications space in the Philippines and the largest acquisition of assets in the country by international investors.

Adlan Tajudin, CEO of edotco Group, said, “The Philippines is a highly valued market for edotco Group, and we appreciate the partnership with BPI in securing structured bespoke financing that allows us to future-proof the nation’s digital economy infrastructure with a cutting-edge communications network for the benefit of all Filipinos.”

Suresh Sidhu, CEO of EdgePoint, said, “In our commitment to building a world-class operation to expand next-generation connectivity solutions and bridge the digital divide in the Philippines, we are delighted to be able to partner with BPI, which has a 170-year history in delivering excellent and trusted financial services in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.”

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