PLDT closed 75 per cent of two tower sale and leaseback deals with subsidiaries of edotco and EdgePoint Infrastructure for PHP57.7 billion ($983.6 million), with proceeds to be used to pay down debt, and cover operating and capital expenses.

The Philippines-based operator stated it transferred 4,435 of 5,907 towers covered by sale and leaseback transactions forged with the tower companies in April.

It added the moves are “timely, as it allows PLDT to avoid additional debt against a backdrop of a rising interest rate environment”.

In a separate statement, Axiata Group detailed an acquisition of 2,203 sites from PLDT’s mobile unit Smart Communications in three batches. ISOC edotco Towers agreed to purchase and leaseback a total of 2,973 towers.

EdgePoint Infrastructure’s local subsidiary Comworks Infratech completed the takeover of two batches of towers, some 2,232 of 2,934 sites.

PLDT expects additional closings before the end of the year, with final transfers to be completed around Q1 2023. It is evaluating the sale of additional towers.

In August, rival Globe Telecom agreed to sell more than 7,000 towers to three specialist groups.