Digicel profits exceed $1bn mark

Increased smart-phone usage in developing regions around Central America and the Caribbean has helped boost pre-tax earnings atthe Denis O’Brien-owned Digicel pass the $1bn (€800m) mark for the first time.

Figures just published show the Jamaican-based telecommunications firm — which has a presence across Central America, the Caribbean and southern Pacific/Oceania regions — boosted subscriber numbers by 27%, to 12.8m people, with total revenues, for the 12 months to the end of March, rising by 14%, to $2.54bn.

The company does not break out net profit figures, but earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose from $954m in the previous year to just over $1.08bn.

Colm Delves, the firm’s chief executive, said Digicel had enjoyed “another strong year in which, for the first time in our eleven year history, our annual EBITDA was over $1bn”.

“With 12.8m subscribers across 30 markets, Digicel has delivered 14% revenue growth, placing us at the leading edge of performance amongst telecoms operators worldwide.”

Mr O’Brien said the latest annual results “reflect the continued growth and development of Digicel in the Caribbean, Central America and Asia-Pacific”.

The year’s strong showing was largely based on the rise of smart-phone usage in the company’s geographically relevant areas and the roll-out of Digicel’s 4G mobile offering, which is now available in nearly half of its markets, including Haiti, Fiji, Samoa and Barbados.

However, value-added services and data revenues were also up by as much as 47% on the previous year, and now account for 20% of the group’s overall service revenues.

The company also said that its balance sheet and liquidity position continue to improve, with cash reserves of over $657m measured as of the end of the reporting period.

The group said its strong financial performance has already been endorsed, with international credit rating agency, Fitch, reaffirming its debt rating, citing the firm’s “strong operational performance”, last month.

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