Tag Archives: Digicel

Denis O’Brien in Haiti in 2010

Rating agency Fitch is expressing the view that Caribbean telecoms giant Digicel may be unable to repay debt due this year, even as it gets a 30-day grace period for interest payments on US$2.9 billion worth of debt.

Expressing the view that, “this debt is not expected to be repaid”, Fitch points out that the default will stem from heightened uncertainty related to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.


Via The Irish Times:

Businessman Denis O’Brien’s heavily indebted Digicel revealed on Thursday that it is looking for creditors to write off $1.7 billion (€1.55 billion) of what they are owed, as the phone group has been left with an unsustainable debt file following years of earnings decline.

The move would reduce Digicel’s total debt by almost 25 per cent from $7 billion currently.

Denis O’Brien’s Digicel seeks $1.7bn debt write-off (The Irish Times)

COVID-19 pressures Digicel (Jamaica Gleaner)




Covid-19 Step Down facility, Citywest, Dublin.

Clive Woods tweetz:

“Denis O’Brein’s company???”

Yesterday: Conference Call

Previously: A Step Down

Denis O’Brien

Ratings agency Fitch is suggesting that Digicel Group [94 per cent owned by Irishman Denis O’Brien] consider raising new capital or sell additional ­assets in order to prepare for its next payout on maturing bonds.

That’s because more than half of its debt maturities are due within four years and its free cash flow is negative.

[Digicel already tried to restructure its debt by ­extending the maturity dates. But an ­extension needs to be matched with increased capital or revenue to repay the maturities]

Digicel’s total debt maturities are estimated at US$6.97 billion: with US$1.3 billion in payouts set for April 2022; another US$2.9 billion in 2023; and an additional US$2.56 billion for repayment ­beyond that.

The telecoms’ total debt is more than 6.7 times its operating earnings.

The Financial Gleaner awaits a response from Digicel on whether it will contemplate selling shares or assets, going forward….

Digicel advised to sell assets or add fresh capital (Jamaica Gleaner)


From top: Denis O’Brien in Haiti, 2010; Part of an FBI affidavit in a Haiti bribery case to be heard next month

In January 2007, Denis O’Brien’s Caribbean mobile phone company Digicel become the first company to be awarded a license to operate a GSM network in Haiti.

The company described the contract as a ‘milestone’, and said it came about as a result of a tender process entered jointly with onefone, a subsidiary of Haitian GB Group.

Next month in New York, retired US Army colonel Joseph Baptiste faces charges for his alleged role in a bribery and money laundering scheme in connection with a planned $84 million port development project in Haiti.

Mr Baptiste was the president of a Maryland, USA-based non-profit organisation with the stated mission of ‘helping the impoverished in Haiti’.

He allegedly told FBI agents during a recorded meeting at a Boston hotel that he would funnel payments to Haitian officials through the non-profit.

In an affidavit from an FBI agent – part of the criminal complaint – Mr Baptiste also boasts of he and his affiliates having delivered the licence to ‘build a cellular network in Haiti’.

Mr Baptiste claims ‘he had used a Haitian company to facilitate payments to government officials for the telecommunications deal..’

He described it as one of “his most successful personal investments”.

Last month, Mr Baptiste, who had signed a plea deal, filed a motion to suppress the statements made to the FBI agents and asserted that they were taken in violation of his rights.

Digicel, meanwhile, remains an alleged “co-conspirator” in a lawsuit taken by US-based Haitian emigrants concerning a $1.5 billion ‘scam’ to divert cash that was meant to fund education. Denying any wrongdoing, the company last month, stated:

“Digicel has always conducted its business in Haiti consistent with all applicable laws and regulations.”

Checking In On The Baptiste Action (FCAProfessor)

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Indicted for Conspiring to Bribe Senior Government Officials of the Republic of Haiti (Us Department of Justice)

Denis O’Brien

…Moody’s, one of the world’s main credit ratings firms, has said that it’s Caa1 rating for the Digicel group, which is seven levels deep into “junk” territory, “reflects its high leverage and untenable capital structure, with the company still facing large debt maturities in the coming years and a weakening liquidity profile”…

…Ratings firm Fitch said that the push by the “controlling shareholder” – Mr O’Brien – to restructure Digicel’s debt, rather than raise additional equity or speed up asset sales, as well as the company’s move to subordinate certain bondholders as part of the bond exchange, will have consequences…


Digicel’s riskiest new bonds start trading at 50% discount (Irish Times)


This afternoon.

On Bloomberg.

A five-minute interview with Digicel Group Chairman Denis O’Brien who’s currently in Papua New Guinea.

He talks about Brexit, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and the “terrific” job carried out by Tánaiste Simon Coveney on Brexit.

He says he reckons Ms May will lose parliamentary approval for the Brexit draft agreement and there will be a general election and then, after that, “we’re in no man’s land”.

Mr O’Brien also talks about Digicel’s bond swap and the possibility of asset sales.

And we wish him all the very best with that.

May’s deal is the best of a bad deal, says Digicel’s chairman (Bloomberg)

Denis O’Brien

Digicel Group was huddling with its creditors on Tuesday after they summarily rejected a plan to swap out US$3 billion of the telecom’s bond for longer term debt, a proposal that would have given the company a two-year reprieve.

It also extended the deadline for accepting the offer by three weeks, from September 28 to October 19.

The company has been liquidating assets as a means of generating cash, but its efforts have been judged inadequate by ratings agencies, leading to credit downgrades. At last estimate, Digcel Group’s leverage was around 6.5 times its adjusted earnings.

Three beeelion dollars.

*touches side of lips with pinky finger*

Digicel extends refinancing offer as bondholders revolt (The Jamaica Gleaner)

Pic: Bloomberg

From top: Denis O’Brien; Digicel’s 2020 debt yield rose to 15.4 percent from 8.5 percent, making it the ‘worst emerging markets performer this year’

It doesn’t rain but it pours.

O’Brien built his cell-phone empire, which stretches from Haiti to Papua New Guinea, on high-risk, high-yield debt. Since 2001, Digicel has accumulated about $6.5 billion of borrowings, mostly to build out networks across 31 regions.

More than two years after the company shelved a planned share sale in New York that was in part designed to pay down debt, and with recent earnings disappointing investors, bondholders want a positive catalyst. Digicel faces a $1.3 billion maturity in 2021, as well as the 2020 payment.

“We expect Digicel to address that with anticipation,” said Marie Fischer-Sabatie, an analyst at Moody’s Investors Service. “If the company doesn’t make material progress in 2018 and does not start to address the issue by the middle of this year, then we could start to see some pressure on ratings.”

Billionaire O’Brien Risks Investor Ire After Debt Yields Surge (Bloomberg)



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Clinton Cash.

A new documentary based on Peter Schweizer’s highly controversial book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.

So, it has a bit of a slant.

Himself (at 25 minutes)…

Much has alrerady been disputed by Digicel and The Clinton Foundation, in all fairness.


Also alternatively and alternatively.

Thanks Deidre

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From top: A screengrab from a Sunday Independent story in relation to Digicel’s pending stock market flotation in New York and screengrabs from the company’s latest filings to the US Securities and Exchange Commission ahead of its public offering

Namawinelake tweetz:

‘DOB’s [Denis O’Brien’s 30%-owned INM papers say Digicel could be worth $13billion; it made a loss of $158million last year & is balance sheet insolvent to tune of $2.9billion…How could company that’s $3billion balance sheet insolvent be worth $13billion? Are its future prospects that good?’


Read file in full here

O’Brien’s Digicel float will be the biggest Irish IPO ever (Sunday Independent)