By Zinnia Dela Peña
Despite the stock market slump, Transpacific Broadcast Group International Inc., a satelite service provider owned by publicly-listed ATN Holdings Inc. of businessman Arsenio T. Ng, is listing its shares at the exchange.
In a statement issued yesterday, TBGI said it plans to offer to the public 33 percent of its common stock. The company has tapped RCBC Capital Corp. as lead underwriter for the offering.
The firm is currently preparing its registration statement which shall be submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission and Philippine Stock Exchange for approval.
Formed in 1995, TBGI holds a 25-year congressional franchise for commercial telecommunications and television broadcasting operations. It also has an approved provisional authority to transmit radio signals to satellites granted by the National Telecommunications Commission.
Proceeds from the offering will be used to finance its plan to provide Internet connectivity all over the Philippines, particularly in remote and unserved rural areas.
While TBGI considers a diversity of sectors as its primary target markets, its initial marketing effort and equipment rollout will be focused on schools and hospitals, particularly in the rural areas.
In five years, TBGI expects to establish connectivity of 1,500 schools and 500 hospitals.
The company said it looks at the Philippine situation as an opportunity in the event of expansion of Internet usage from a low of 2.4 percent to 50 percent prevailing in five developed countries like Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.
It believes that the Philippine market can reach a potential of 40 million Internet users in 10 years based on the 50-percent market penetration in developed countries in Asia.
As of end-June 2002, the number of Internet users in the country had reached 3.4 million while online spending rose to P3.7 billion from P3.2 billion at the end of 2001.
With TBGI, the ATN Group can expand into different platforms covering broadcast media, global communications and electronic commerce and services.
TBGI provides digital uplink services for the audio/video media. It has service experience with international cable television program providers, Korea-based TV shopping network and five other foreign and local TV channels.
It recently installed a main hub of satellite transmitter-receiver to link the interactive broadband infrastructure for data broadcasting requirements of its educational and healthcare institutional customers.
The firm is strategically positioned as the private sector counterpart of government in the implementation of the information communication technology policy under the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan.