SMC pledges to put more capital in Liberty Telecom

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@paolomontecillo

05:57 AM May 24th, 2013

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By: Paolo G. Montecillo, May 24th, 2013 05:57 AM

MANILA, Philippines—Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. has renewed its commitment to the local telecommunications industry, pledging to pour in more capital into money-losing Liberty Telecom Holdings Inc. to pay off its debts.

The company was mum on Liberty’s expansion plans for the year, but San Miguel president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said the parent firm was willing to invest more to keep the telco afloat.

“If we need to invest more, we will. That will be for general requirements, and the company has obligations that need to be settled,” Ang told reporters on the sidelines of the company’s shareholders’ meeting.

“We want to keep the company strong,” Ang added, despite San Miguel being merely a passive investor in Liberty, which operates under the brand wi-Tribe.

“We are just a minority partner there. All of its operations so far are handled by Qatar Telecom,” Ang said.

Qatar Telecom or QTel was San Miguel’s partner when it acquired Liberty.

“We are studying our next step,” Ang said.

He refused to divulge details on Liberty’s expansion plans, saying that it did not want to telegraph the company’s moves to its competitors.

Earlier, Liberty said it would participate in the government auction for the remaining third-generation or 3G wireless frequency in the country.

Liberty’s 2012 revenue reached P575 million, up 9 percent year on year.

The company’s losses, however, reached P1.523 billion in the same year, lower by 9 percent from 2011.

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