Lopez-owned Bayan Telecommunications (BayanTel) is considering plans to seek partnerships with domestic value added service (VAS) providers rather than looking for a strategic investor to help out the loss-making telco. In an interview, the company’s CEO Tunde Fafunwa is quoted by BusinessMirror as saying the new business plan is expected to shore up phone firm’s position in the broadband sector. ‘We are more focused on partnership with service providers. Together, we can come up with new products and services. A lot of things are happening in the market, particularly in the area of content and media. Cooperation and partnerships are definitely going to be more evident in the future,’ he said.
The BayanTel CEO executive earlier said the company was open to a possible sale with another entity, be it foreign or local. There were unconfirmed talks that BayanTel could be the next target of Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT), which has acquired an indirect stake in Manila Electric Company, another Lopez-controlled firm, through a group affiliated to Manuel V Pangilinan, chairman of the country’s largest phone firm.
Last month, BayanTel reported it halved its net losses for first half of 2009 on an annualised basis, on the back of strong revenue growth. At the time, Tunde Fafunwa said that consolidated net losses narrowed by 66% to PHP533.8 million (USD11.01 million), compared to PHP1.57 billion in the first half of 2008. Turnover climbed 8% over the same period from PHP3.07 billion to PHP3.32 billion, while EBITDA jumped 38% from PHP987 million to PHP1.36 billion. Fafunwa said he expects the trend to continue into the second half of the year with ‘continuous moderate’ growth. BayanTel has set aside PHP1.3 billion for CAPEX in 2H09, and is looking for growth in its DSL broadband and wireline businesses. Its subscriber base continues to grow, reaching 500,000 as at 30 June 2009.