PLDT to redevelop Makati offices, sell Smart Tower

PLDT, Inc. said it is pushing through with its plan to redevelop two offices and sell Smart Tower in Makati City, and to replace them with a new office building.
Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman, president and chief executive officer of the telecommunications giant, told reporters Tuesday the company is still in talks with Japan’s NTT Realty group but the project will carry on.
“They’re very keen to redevelop. We’re proceeding with the redevelopment plans for the two buildings, and then we said we would like to sell Smart Tower. Unless they want to redevelop it themselves,” he said, referring to PLDT’s assets in Makati City: the Ramon Cojuangco Building, MGO Building and Smart Tower.
Once PLDT proceeds with the redevelopment of the buildings with NTT Realty, Mr. Pangilinan said the Japanese firm will provide the capital and their redevelopment experience for the project. But he noted the company would need one or two local partners that have experience in the Philippines.
“We’re talking. Siguro [Probably] NTT Realty and one or two local partners… I have talked to several. Dami naman dito di ba [There’s plenty in here],” he said.
PLDT Chief Finance Officer Anabelle L. Chua revealed plans to raise capital from selling company assets during its financial results briefing last month. She said the sale of the properties “could fetch somewhere from P3-5 billion.”
The amount to be generated will be used to finance PLDT’s P78.4-billion capital expenditures this year.
However, the plans to transfer PLDT’s headquarters to the southern part of Manila still hangs, as Mr. Pangilinan said the idea is a “big debate” internally.
“Hindi ako maka-decide syempre [I can’t decide], because it’s a very important…important not so much because it is a large amount, but because it affects all people, all the employees and staff and suppliers and vendors. Because if you move to the south or the north, medyo malayo [it’s quite far],” he said.
The transfer of the company’s headquarters was a revival of an earlier plan in 2017 that didn’t push through due to complaints from employees.
“We need a taller building. We need to be housed in one location,” Mr. Pangilinan added.
Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Denise A. Valdez