Tuesday 12 December 2017

Digicel debt rose €210m in the six months to end September

TELECOMS

Donal O'Donovan

BORROWINGS at the Denis O'Brien-owned Digicel increased by €210m in the six months to the end of September, according to its interim financial statement.

The debt was increased as part of a wider refinancing of senior borrowing facilities. The repayment date for the rest of the senior debt was also extended under the same deal.

CEO Colm Delves said the debt refinancing was well supported by lenders and provided further balance sheet flexibility.

It is understood that Digicel's total debt now stands at around €3.6bn.

Sale

Sales at Digicel rose by 16pc to €926m for the same period.

The increase in revenues is running ahead of growth in customer numbers, thanks to stronger demand for add-on services, including web browsing and messaging, the company said.

Half-year results published yesterday show that earnings before tax, interest and other costs grew by 15pc to €391m.

Subscriber numbers increased by 14pc in the six months to the end of September, on a like-for-like basis, a spokesman said. That's up from 6pc growth in customer numbers in the year to the end of March. Digicel's core business now has 11.1 million customers in 30 countries, according to the latest set of numbers.

Digicel is headquartered in Jamaica and operates in the Caribbean, Central America and in the Pacific.

Haiti is a major engine of growth for the business, in spite of last year's devastating earthquake. Digicel added 830,000 new customers in Haiti over the six months to the end of September.

Honduras sale

Earlier this week, the company completed the sale of its unit in Honduras to America Movil -- a telecoms business owned by one of the world's richest men, Carlos Slim. America Movil sold its unit in Jamaica to Digicel as part of the same deal.

A sale of Digicel's El Salvador business to America Movil has been delayed for regulatory reason. In recent weeks, Digicel mulled making an offer for Eircom but pulled out of the race before a deadline for bids closed.

Irish Independent

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