Business Irish

Friday 20 April 2018

Digicel Group reports 11pc boost in sales after rollout of 4G services

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

IRISH-owned Digicel Group has reported an 11pc rise in sales, with revenues rising to US$1.38bn in the six months to the end of September.

"Value added" services like web browsing and messaging now account for 21pc of overall revenues at Digicel, thanks to a rollout of new 4G networks and increasing use of smartphones, the company said.

Digicel is owned by businessman Denis O'Brien.

The mobile phone company now has almost 13 million customers in 30 countries across the Caribbean, Pacific and South America. Earnings at Digicel were up 10pc to US$577m over the same period.

Eleven-year-old Digicel has grown rapidly since the company was founded to provide mobile phone services initially in Caribbean markets that had historically been underserved by both fixed line and mobile providers.

"We are very pleased with the continued growth we are seeing across our markets and with the customer response to the rollout of our 4G networks," group chief executive Colm Delves said yesterday.

"We will continue to focus our investments on countries where the appropriate foreign direct investment environment exists and where we see future growth opportunities."

The latest growth in revenues has been driven by a 17pc increase in subscriber numbers, which now stand at 12.9 million in 30 markets.

Haiti, Papua New Guinea, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname are named as seeing particularly strong revenue growth.

In September Digicel completed a €1.5bn refinancing and cut its borrowing costs after tapping the global bond markets, in one of the largest deals of its kind for a company based in the Caribbean or Latin America.

The new bonds are due to be repaid in 2020 and offer a yield, or interest rate, of 8.25pc for investors.

The deal was used to buy back and cancel €1.25bn of older bonds that were originally due to mature in 2015 and carried higher interest rates of 9.125pc and 9.875pc.

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