Globe Telecom Inc. said on Thursday that it was helping Bayan Telecommunications Inc. (BayanTel) get back on its feet and allow the Lopez-owned Telecommunications Inc. to continue its operations to contribute to the growth of the telecommunications industry.
“Globe was doing to help BayanTel get back on its feet and allow BayanTel to continue its operations, ensure the continued employment of 1,100 workers—thereby empowering BayanTel to contribute to the growth of the telecommunications market and industry,” said Froilan Castelo, general legal counsel of Globe.
Currently, BayanTel is servicing about 500,000 customers nationwide. The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) on Wednesday filed at the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) its opposition to the joint application of BayanTel and Globe for the approval of the conversion of BayanTel’s debt (substantially held by Globe) to equity, based on a Pasig Regional Trial Court (RTC)-directed Master Restructuring Agreement.
PLDT opined that the joint application was “anti-competitive, anti-consumer and [of]unfair trade practice.”
On October 11, Globe and BayanTel filed a joint application for NTC’s approval for the change in the controlling interest of the Lopez-led telco. This would be done through a debt-to-equity conversion of loans of BayanTel.
But Castelo said that “everything’s legal and above board—firstly, this is a valid restructuring and rehabilitation program promulgated by the Pasig RTC Branch 158; secondly, the Office of the Solicitor General has not posed any objections; thirdly, the NTC approved in October, last year, the co-use by Globe of BayanTel’s frequencies in the course of BayanTel’s mandated rehabilitation by the Pasig RTC.”
Globe said that its taking a controlling interest in BayanTel is unlike PLDT’s monopolistic acquisition of Digitel-Sun since Digitel-Sun was a very healthy competitor that was eating, in fact, into the market shares of PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications.
“This time, there was broadly based recognition of the need to rehabilitate BayanTel—foremost among which were its major creditors like Goldman Sachs Group, Clearwater Capital Partners, Avenue Capital and the UK-based Spinnaker Capital,” Castelo said.
He added that Globe will study the opposition filed by the PLDT at the NTC.
“But because of the forgoing, we can say this early that the RTC MRA [Master Restructuring Agreement] does not propose an anti-competitive, anti-consumer nor an unfair trade practice,” Castelo further said.