PLDT & # 39; s Voyager gets $ 40-M investment from IFC

THE sister organization International Finance Corp. (IFC) from the World Bank and the IFC Emerging Asia Fund invest $ 40 million in PLDT, Inc.'s technology unit Voyager Innovations, the telecommunications giant said Monday.

In a Monday statement, PLDT said it has signed an agreement with IFC and the IFC Asset Management Company managed fund for the registration of $ 40 million worth of newly issued shares in Voyager.

The two companies join the investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) and the Chinese tech company Tencent Holdings Ltd. as foreign investors in Voyager. KKR and Tencent have previously announced a consolidated investment of $ 175 million in the digital innovation sector of PLDT.

The four foreign partners now have a total combined investment of $ 215 million in Voyager, which handles PayMaya Philippines, Inc., mobile transfer brand Smart Padala, online loan platform Lendr, financial technology arm FINTQ and free mobile browser app Freenet.

PLDT said the ownership interest in Voyager would be reduced to less than 50% once the deal is closed, which is expected to be expected before the end of the year. However, PLDT remains the largest shareholder in the technology company.

"We at PLDT welcome the investment … Through its Global Innovative Retail Payments program, IFC aims to make financial services much more accessible and affordable for low-income people in the world by supporting innovative financial services. the goal that PLDT pursues through the Voyager platforms, "said PLDT Chairman, CEO and President Manuel V. Pangilinan.

Mr Pangilinan had previously said that the sales effort in Voyager was intended to help PLDT to recover losses from the unit, which amounted to P1.8 billion in the first three quarters of the year. He estimated that the investment of PLDT in Voyager since 2013 is about P9 billion to P10 billion.

The biggest competitor of Voyager in the Philippine market is GCASH from Globe Telecom, Inc., which last year also took a minority investment from Ant Financial Services Group of the Chinese billionaire Jack Ma.

In a separate disclosure to the stock exchange PLDT said it also signed the agreement for its investment in Multisys Technologies Corp., information and IT solutions provider, which was announced earlier this month.

"The investment of PLDT includes the acquisition of new and existing shares of Multisys, which corresponds to an ownership interest of 45.73%. As part of the Investment Agreement, PLDT will contribute P1.6 billion fresh capital to Multisys, subject to the conditions imposed. met to complete such an investment, "the company said.

In its earlier announcement, PLDT said that Multisys will help PLDT Enterprise, ePLDT and Voyager provide customized solutions for its customers.

"This investment positions PLDT as a provider of telecom and digital services with the most important software development options," said Mr. Pangilinan.

For the first nine months of 2018, the attributable benefits of PLDT decreased by 26% to P16.27 billion from P21.87 billion a year ago as a result of an accelerated depreciation of P4.5 billion related to its network assets.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., part of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund, subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority interest in Business world via the Philippine Star Group, which manages it. – Denise A. Valdez

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