Sat, Aug 10, 2019 - Page 12 News List

APT planning a rights issue for 5G development

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Asia Pacific Telecom Co president Huang Nan-ren, right, and chief financial officer Hong Long-zhu explain the company’s capital increase and reduction plans at the Taiwan Stock Exchange in Taipei on Thursday.

Photo: Wang Yi-hung, Taipei Times

Asia Pacific Telecom Co (APT, 亞太電信) is planning a rights issue to raise NT$15 billion (US$478.27 million) via a private placement to improve its financial structure and join the 5G spectrum auction in December.

Its board of directors has approved the plan to issue a maximum of 1.5 billion new common shares for subscription by existing shareholders, the company said in a filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Thursday.

“We have included them [the company’s major shareholders] as potential subscribers,” Asia Pacific Telecom president Huang Nan-ren (黃南仁) told reporters at the Taiwan Stock Exchange, when asked whether the company’s major shareholders have agreed to subscribe to the new shares.

“They will have make their own assessments and decide after the issue price is fixed,” he said.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), which holds 19.63 percent of APT’s stock, is its biggest shareholder, the company’s annual report said.

Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大哥大) holds 3.45 percent, making it APT’s third-largest shareholder.

All eyes are on Taiwan Mobile, amid speculation that the nation’s No. 2 telecom operator could boost its holdings in APT via the share offer and pave the way for 5G spectrum sharing.

APT has been leasing Taiwan Mobile’s 4G network to make up for a shortage of base stations when it launched its 4G services in 2014, raising regulatory concerns.

The company is currently only allowed to use Taiwan Mobile’s 4G network in remote areas.

The National Communications Commission has said it would allow 5G spectrum sharing — which it restricted for 3G and 4G — because of limited 5G bandwidth.

The commission plans to auction 2,790 megahertz (MHz) of bandwidth for 5G services, including 270MHz in the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) band, 2,500MHz in the 28GHz band and 20MHz in the 1,800MHz band.

Each bidder will be capped at 100MHz in the 3.5GHz frequency band and at 800MHz in the 28GHz frequency band, according to the regulator.

APT’s board has approved management’s proposal to bid for all three frequency bands.

The board also passed a proposal to reduce APT’s capital by 34.46 percent to improve its financial structure.

The company is required to cut its capital as stipulated by the Company Act (公司法) after posting cumulative losses of NT$22.15 billion as of June 30, more than half of its capital of NT$42.98 billion.

After the reduction, APT would see its book value return to NT$10 per share, from NT$6.55 at the end of June, the company said.

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