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Jakarta Post

TBIG to build up to 2,000 telecom towers next year

  • Khoirul Amin

    The Jakarta Post

  /   Sat, December 27, 2014   /  04:07 pm

Telecommunications tower company PT Tower Bersama Infrastructure (TBIG) plans to spend no less than Rp 2 trillion (US$161 million) for expansion next year to meet the country'€™s growing demand for telecommunications towers.

TBIG finance director Helmy Yusman Santoso said that his firm would add between 1,500 and 2,000 new towers next year, with a budget allocation of around Rp 1 billion for each tower.

'€œWe allocate around Rp 2 trillion from our internal cash for organic growth next year,'€ he said earlier this week.

TBIG, which had a total of 11,686 telecommunications towers as of September this year, foresees good growth next year.

'€œOver the last two to three years, we have seen more organic growth than non-organic. Next year alone, we estimate that we will see at least the same growth as this year,'€ TBIG president director Herman Setya Budi said.

Research firm Frost & Sullivan has predicted that the number of telecommunications towers in the country will grow by 8 percent annually, hitting 89,409 units next year, up from 55,972 units in 2011.

In a further development, Helmy said that his firm would also eye non-organic growth by allocating around 10 percent of its total capital expenditure (capex) next year.

Helmy did not elaborate on his firm'€™s non-organic growth plan, saying that there were currently very few small tower companies left for acquisition.

He said, however, that trends were moving toward a situation in which telecommunications operators would start monetizing their towers.

Major telecommunications companies PT Indosat (ISAT) and PT XL Axiata (EXCL) have stated that they would review the possibility of selling more of their towers next year after previously selling towers to independent tower companies.

ISAT sold 2,500 of its towers to TBIG in 2012, while EXCL sold 3,500 of its towers to tower firm PT Solusi Tunas Pratama (SUPR) in October.

PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (TLKM), meanwhile, has inked a deal to swap part of its stake in its tower business, PT Dayamitra Telekomunikasi (Mitratel), for a stake in TBIG.

TLKM has also stated its plan to monetize towers of its subsidiary PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel) in the future.

Helmy said that after previously exchanging its 5.7-percent stake in TBIG for a 49-percent stake in Mitratel, his firm would carry out private placement by issuing 479 million shares in the first quarter of next year to acquire the remaining 51 percent stake in Mitratel.

The new shares, which would be priced at Rp 8,253 apiece, would be equal to 10 percent of TBIG'€™s enlarged share capital, he added.

With the possibility of acquiring operators'€™ towers left open, TBIG did not have any specific non-organic growth plans next year, Helmy explained.

'€œWe still have Rp 1.3 billion in bank loans and Rp 3.1 trillion from the remaining Rp 4 trillion in funds raised from sustainable bonds,'€ he said, hinting that his firm had enough funding for business expansion next year.

TBIG has also got the green light from its shareholders to issue $500 million in global bonds next year. Helmy said, however, that the decision to issue the global bonds would depend on market conditions.

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