MANILA, MAY 1, 2009 (STAR) By Mary Ann LL. Reyes - Globe Telecom has signed a $50-million loan agreement with Export Development Canada to fund its capital expenditure purchases from Nokia Siemens Network, company officials disclosed.

Globe earlier revealed that it is planning to raise about P5 billion from new debts this year to finance its capital expenses.

The company recently signed a P1-billion term loan facility with Land Bank of the Philippines as lender. The proceeds of the facility will be used to finance capex this year estimated to cost between $350 million to $400 million.

Globe chief finance officer Delfin Gonzales they plan to draw down on the loan package until next year.

He said around $150 million of total capex will be spent for consumer broadband including the third generation of mobile communications technology (3G), $130 million for core cellular 2G (second generation mobile technology), $25 million for corporate data, $20 million for support capex, and $25 million as carry-over spend for international cable facilities.

The 2009 capex budget of around P16.5 billion represents 23 percent of 2008 revenues. In 2008, capex was at P19.9 billion for a capex-to-revenue ratio of 30 percent.

Gonzalez earlier explained that this year’s capex is lower because the 2008 numbers included non-recurring capex for Globe’s participation in the international cable project, landing station and backhaul.

Globe was recently authorized to offer up to P10 billion in retail bonds to finance both capex and maturing debts this year of around $250 million, of which P5 billion has already been raised.

Globe chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala earlier said he expects the broadband business to sustain its momentum this year. “Our objective for 2009 is to step up growth initiatives across all our businesses,” he pointed out.

For his part, newly appointed Globe president Ernest Cu expressed confidence that despite the much tougher market, the company will be able to meet its goals. “The crisis presents a wealth of opportunities,” he said.

He also noted that broadband represents the next explosion in the local telecommunications arena. “We will be the first to implement Wi-Max as a wireless broadband solution.”

Cu also emphasized that with the market already reaching maturity given an industry cellular base of 70 million and a population of 90 million about 20 percent of which is not addressable, the company has to create new revenue streams.

When asked whether Globe now intends to venture into other businesses, Cu stressed that Globe should stay true to its core assets, which are its subscriber base and its ability to deliver load electronically (Autoload Max).

However, he emphasized that this does not mean that Globe is not on the look out for new business opportunities. Cu revealed that one possible new business for Globe is in the field of entertainment. “But we will not adopt an acquisition-type of strategy for growth although it will be part of the arsenal,” he said. 

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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