Digicel reports customer growth, strong operating results
EBITDA, a key metric by which Digicel Group and bondholders track its operational performance, increased 32 per cent in the third quarter to a record high, the mobile company said.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, or operating profit, rose above US$240 million in the October-December 2010 quarter.
Gross revenue increased 32 per cent to US$580 million in 30 markets, while subscriber numbers rose 7 per cent to 11.5 million across 32 operating points in the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific, the company said.
" ... We have had another very strong quarter," said group chief executive officer Colm Delves.
"Digicel has outperformed its industry peers with strong revenue growth and robust margins," he said.
Post the release of the operating results, Digicel said starting this month it would be introducing in 26 regional markets, a new BlackBerry phone, the 9870 Bold, which runs the new Blackberry 6 operating system and offers 512 MB Flash memory and an expandable memory-card slot that supports up to 32 GB of additional storage, a combined Digicel-Research In Motion release said.
Digicel, a private company owned by Denis O'Brien, has a preference for debt to fund expansion and capital projects. In its financial year 2009/10, the company added US$1.8 billion of leverage, and, within the review quarter, issued another US$300-million bond in December at 8.25 per cent coupon.
Digicel, which is building a new US$65m headquarters for the group and its Jamaican subsidiary on the Kingston waterfront, said the bond proceeds were for general corporate purposes. It subsequently acquired two ICT businesses: Netxar Technologies in Puerto Rico and Datanets in Papua, New Guinea in the southwest Pacific.
The company is also said to be exploring Africa for expansion and acquisition targets.