SMC acquires BellTel through Vega unit

16 Aug 2010

Filipino diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp (SMC), acting through its 100% owned subsidiary Vega Telecom, has purchased domestic operator Bell Telecommunication Philippines (BellTel) for an undisclosed amount. Manila’s BusinessWorld Online reports a company filing from the group in which it says that on 30 July this year it acquired shares in Two Cassandra-CCI Conglomerates, Perchpoint Holdings Corp and Power Smart Capital. The three firms collectively own 100% of BellTel. As a result of the transactions, Vega now owns up to 75% of the outstanding capital stock of the [three] said corporations,’ SMC said in its filing. The corporation, the country’s biggest food and beverage company, is looking to become a major player in power generation and distribution, oil refining, infrastructure development, and telecommunications.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in February this year the Philippines’ telecoms regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), approved the transfer of ownership of BellTel. The move paved the way for a PHP3.6 billion (USD78 million) cash injection into the unit, which is being transformed by its new owners into a credible player in the domestic wireless broadband market. BellTel is a full-service telecoms service provider which launched commercially in January 2002. It holds the necessary licences and authorisations to install, operate and maintain local exchange and wireless in the local loop (WiLL) networks in several areas including special economic zones, inter-exchange networks, nationwide VSAT network, international gateway facilities and cellular mobile telecommunications networks. On 18 December 2009, Two Cassandra acquired a 40% stake in BellTel and, under an agreement signed by both parties, Two Cassandra bought the remaining six million shares or 60% of the issued and outstanding capital stock of BellTel after the NTC approved the change in ownership. South China Resources and Liberty Flour Mills were two of BellTel’s minority shareholders which sold their stakes to Two Cassandra.