‘Business as usual’ for BayanTel

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It’s back to business as usual for Bayan Telecommunications Inc. (BayanTel) under the helm of new owner Globe Telecom Inc.

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“On the NTC process, we’re done. So I think on that basis we were be able to become 98.6 percent owner of BayanTel, we’ll now proceed back to ‘business as usual,’” Chief Financial Officer Albert de Larrazabal told reporters.

The National Telecommunications Commission has given the Globe-BayanTel transaction the nod, saying the regulator has adopted ample safeguards to ensure a level playing field in the telco industry and that the acquisition does not pose “. . . any prejudice to the public interest and convenience nor will make the service fail to operate or function better.

Late last month, the Ayala-led Globe acquired 70,763,707 shares of Bayan Telecommunications Holdings Corp. and Lopez Holdings Corp. in BayanTel for P1.83 billion. The acquisition comes on the heels of a debt-to-equity deal that allowed the Globe own 56.87 percent of the beleaguered BayanTel which was part of a court-approved rehabilitation plan under the watchful eye of the industry regulator in early July.

The transaction gave Globe the opportunity to hike its equity interest in Bayantel to 98.57 percent from 56.87 percent.

“The debt-to-equity conversion transaction between Globe and Bayan will precisely enable the latter’s continued viability as a service provider, allowing it to exit rehabilitation and enhance its current service offering to the public,” Globe General Counsil Froilan Castelo earlier said.

Despite the opposition of rival Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) to the Globe-Bayantel deal, on grounds that the competition would gain significantly more frequencies per subscriber than the PLDT Group, Globe has successfully argued that the issues raised by PLDT has no material benefit to the transaction.

Gil Genio, head of International and Business Markets at Globe also told reporters that, “We have to bring Bayan out of the rehab court.”

“We should then bring Bayan into a normal operating mode and re-plan what they’ve done, and hopefully we can turbo charge the growth of BayanTel both of landline DSL and enterprise data even more,” Genio said.

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