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PLDT divesting P10.5-billion stake in Rocket Internet

PLDT Inc. said Monday it is selling a portion of its 6.1-percent stake in German technology company Rocket Internet for about P10.5 billion. 

PLDT said in a disclosure to the stock exchange that indirect subsidiary PLDT Online Investments Pte. Ltd. agreed to accept the public share purchase offer of Rocket Internet SE  for at least 6.8 million shares, or about 67.4 percent of the total number of Rocket shares directly held by PLDT Online.

The total transaction for the divestment of 6.8 million shares is worth P10.5 billion. 

Rocket is a Berlin-based internet company that builds online startups and owns shareholdings in various models of internet retail businesses. It has stakes in major e-commerce platforms and startups in Southeast Asia, including Zalora, Lamudi, Carmudi, Traveloka and Foodpanda. It sold its stake in Lazada in 2017.

Rocket earlier announced the buyback of up to 15,472,912 Rocket shares through a public share purchase offer against payment of an offer price in the amount of  24 euros per share.

PLDT, through PLDT Online, currently has a 6.1-percent ownership stake in Rocket.

The final number of PLDT Online tendered shares accepted by Rocket will be determined after the end of the offer period on May 2 this year. 

“ If greater than 15,472,912 Rocket shares are tendered, the Rocket shares to be sold by PLDT Online will be reduced proportionally,” PLDT said.

PLDT bought a 10-percent stake in Rocket Internet for 333 million euro or $445 million in 2014.

Rocket share prices closed at 21.125 euros as of end-2017, before it fell to 16.03 euros as of end March. 

PLDT chairman and chief executive Manuel Pangilinan said proceeds from the Rocket sale would be used to partly finance the company’s P58-billion capital expenditures this year to further expand its fixed and mobile broadband networks. 

The company set a P40-billion capex last year, representing 26 percent of consolidated service revenues. 

PLDT earlier reported a 33-percent drop in net income to P13.4 billion last year from P20.16 billion in 2016.

The company said in the fourth quarter alone, it incurred a net loss of P8.51 billion.

PLDT said revenues fell 3 percent in 2017 to P159.93 billion from P165.26 billion in 2016. 

Topics: PLDT Inc. , German technology , Rocket Internet , PLDT Online Investments Pte. Ltd. , Manuel Pangilinan
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