PLDT, a telecommunications operator in the Philippines, has been named in press reports from Bloomberg noting that it is working with investment bank JP Morgan on the “potential sale of its data centers” in a transaction that could value this digital infrastructure for as much as $500m. In addition to its data centers, Bloomberg states that PLDT is evaluating the possibility of divesting its tower infrastructure in the Philippines through an $800m to $1bn sale-and-leaseback transaction.
Overall, these potential data center and tower infrastructure sales could yield PLDT a total of $1.5bn in proceeds. With this dynamic in-play, we breakdown the data center and tower infrastructure portfolios of PLDT.
Data Centers – PLDT Sale
PLDT’s subsidiary, ePLDT, manages the company’s data center assets, which together have the largest rack capacity in the Philippines. Presently, the company has 10 operational data centers comprising 72 megawatts of power capacity, with 9.1k+ server racks. As of Q2 2021, the company’s 9.1k+ server racks were 61% occupied.
Overall, these facilities span 273k sqft (25.4k sqm) of data center space and are located in Metro Manila, Subic, Clark, Cebu, and Davao.
Specifically, ePLDT operates the following 10 data centers under the VITRO brand:
- Makati 1: comprises 202 racks of power capacity, across 6.2k sqft (0.6k sqm) of data center space
- Makati 2: comprises 3.6k racks of power capacity, across 86k sqft (8.0k sqm) of data center space. Additionally, PLDT notes that this facility is the largest data center in the Philippines
- Pasig: comprises 1.8k racks of power capacity, across 42k sqft (3.9k sqm) of data center space
- Taguig: comprises 165 racks of power capacity, across 5.9k sqft (0.5k sqm) of data center space
- Parañaque: comprises 800 racks of power capacity, across 32k sqft (3.0k sqm) of data center space
- Cebu 1: comprises 195 racks of power capacity, across 4.5k sqft (0.4k sqm) of data center space
- Cebu 2: comprises 794 racks of power capacity, across 63k sqft (5.9k sqm) of data center space
- Clark: comprises 1.5k racks of power capacity, across 31k sqft (2.8k sqm) of data center space
- Subic: comprises 45 racks of power capacity, across 1.1k sqft (0.1k sqm) of data center space
- Davao: comprises 44 racks of power capacity, across 1.1k sqft (0.1k sqm) of data center space
In May 2021, PLDT highlighted that its Enterprise segment is benefitting from data center contracts signed with hyperscale customers. In turn, PLDT “seeks to put the Philippines on the map as a new data center hub in the region”. To this end, PLDT noted on its Q2 2021 earnings call that it is evaluating the possibility to build a new data center “in the 30-megawatt range”.
The indicative valuation of $500m suggested by press reports implies that PLDT’s 10 data centers would yield a price of ~$7m per megawatt.
Towers – PLDT Sale
PLDT owns the largest portfolio of towers in the Philippines with 10k+ sites. Additionally, during 2021, PLDT intends to build a further 1.5k towers in the Philippines. Notably, this target sits at the top-end of the company’s typical tower build-out range of 1.0k to 1.5k towers annually.
PLDT stated on its Q2 2021 earnings call that it would consider a sale-and-leaseback of certain of its “towers that are not strategic to the overall network position of PLDT”. Moreover, the company noted that “discussions have started on a preliminary basis”. Indeed, investment banks have discussed the sale-and-leaseback possibility with independent tower operators, private equity firms, and financial investors.
An indicative valuation of $800m to $1bn was suggested by press reports for a portion of PLDT’s towers.