Digicel Said to See Earnings Drop as Hurricanes Take $3m Toll

(Bloomberg) -- Digicel Group Ltd, the mobile carrier company controlled by Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien, told bondholders quarterly earnings dropped 10 percent, according to a earnings release seen by Bloomberg News.

Digicel’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the quarter ending March 31 dropped to $253 million from the year-earlier period, as the company altered tariffs and took a $3 million hit from hurricanes, the company said in the presentation. Full-year earnings dropped 2 percent to just over $1 billion.

O’Brien founded Digicel in 2001 and turned it into a mobile-phone empire with customers spread from El Salvador to Vanuatu, financing the expansion partly with high-yield debt.The yield on the company’s 2020 bonds rose as high as 23 percent this month, before easing to 20 percent on Monday.

Other highlights include

  • Gross leverage 6.7x at quarter end versus 6x yr earlier
  • Services revenues dropped 3%
  • Operating cash flow decreased by 17% to $241 million, due to lower ebitda
  • Restructuring costs $34 million

A company spokesman declined to comment.

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