Thursday 20 October 2016

Digicel sees first-quarter losses drop sharply ahead of listing on New York market

Published 27/08/2015 | 02:30

Digicel to be floated on the New York Stock Exchange
Digicel to be floated on the New York Stock Exchange

Digicel, the telecoms business set up by businessman Denis O'Brien, sharply narrowed losses in the first quarter of this year.

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In an update to its Form F-1 ahead of the company's planned stock market flotation, Digicel said it made a loss of $31.4m (€27.6m) in the three months to the end of June.

That period is the first quarter of Digicel's financial year.

Revenue fell marginally to $669.7m, while staff costs rose by almost $5m to $79.4m.

At an operating level, Digicel made a profit of $165m.

Mr O'Brien is also a shareholder in Independent News & Media, the parent of this newspaper. The revised form also shows that the company will continue to pay a dividend next year.

The company said it had paid a dividend of $10m per quarter for the year ended March 31 in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

"The company's current intention for fiscal year 2016, subject to the discretion of the Board of Directors and considerations discussed herein, is to pay dividends in line with its historical quarterly dividend.

"In future years, the company intends to evaluate increasing its distributions to shareholders based on its operating free cash flow available to equity holders to the extent that doing so is consistent with its growth objectives, further development of its networks and value enhancing acquisitions," Digicel added.

Digicel bought Uniqa, a mobile phone operator based in Suriname, as well as Allcom, a Papua New Guinea-based ICT business,

The updated document is part of the process ahead of the company being formally listed on the New York Stock Exchange. That is expected to happen before the end of this year.

The listing could see Digicel valued at between $8bn and $11bn.

The funds from the IPO are earmarked "for general corporate purposes, including capital expenditures and acquisitions and to repay existing indebtedness".

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