Digicel sales in T&T grew by 13 per cent to US$64 million in the three months to the end of September, the apparent highest in all of the company's markets worldwide, according to a report in the Irish Times newspaper yesterday.Shown the report and asked for comments yesterday, the group's spokesperson in Jamaica, Antonia Graham told the T&T Guardian: "Thank you, but we won't be commenting."
According to financial statements sent to the company's bondholders, total group revenues at Digicel, the mobile phone company owned by Irish businessman Denis O'Brien, fell by US$7 million to US$691 million in the three months to the end of September."Despite underlying growth of two per cent, the company blamed a fall against the dollar in the currencies of Haiti, Papua New Guinea and Jamaica for the dip in sales," the Irish Times reported.
Digicel's "performance dipped sharply in Haiti, the impoverished country that is one of the company's main markets. Its subscriber numbers there fell by six per cent, while sales fell by 11 per cent to US$126 million, with a nine per cent reduction when the effects of currency are stripped out".Digicel blamed "weaker economic conditions" in Haiti and new price plans, which it said were designed to "grow our market share." Digicel already has a 75 per cent market share in Haiti, which was devastated by an earthquake in 2010.
In Jamaica, another of Digicel's main markets, revenues fell by nine per cent to US$107 million. The company said its underlying revenues had grown by one per cent, while the Jamaican dollar had fallen by 12 per cent.Digicel's operations in El Salvador were also hit by a weak economy, with revenues there falling by US$3 million to US$28 million, although subscriber numbers increased by seven per cent.Digicel said it plans to launch 4G services in El Salvador in the current quarter.
The report said Digicel's "revenues in Papua New Guinea, another of its major markets, were flat at US$116 million, while sales in T&T grew by 13 per cent to US$64 million. Sales in other markets, including the British Virgin Islands, Guyana and Suriname, increased by four per cent to US$170 million."While overall revenues fell slightly, it was an improved performance on the previous three months to the end of June, when Digicel made a net loss of about US$11 million.
The company paid interest charges of US$104 million on loan notes and project finance debts of US$5.675 billion, according to the accounts.