Financing to Accelerate Digicel’s Rapid Growth and Meet Demand in New Markets
CaribPR Newswire, KINGSTON, JAMAICA, August 3, 2006: Digicel Group, the fastest-growing mobile telecommunications company in the Caribbean, today announced it has raised US$150 million in capital through a corporate bond offering to further support its continued growth strategy and rapid expansion efforts in key markets of Trinidad & Tobago and Haiti. Led by investment banks Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase, the bond financing priced at a yield of 8.625% and represents continued confidence from the investment community following the inaugural US$300 million bond offering initiated last July.
Since launching in Trinidad & Tobago and Haiti, Digicel has quickly gained market share in both countries and mobile customers have embraced the company’s innovative mobile technology and accessible telecommunications services. In Haiti, a country with a population of 8.5 million and combined fixed and cellular penetration of 5.7%, Digicel has brought an unprecedented inward investment of $US130 million to the developing nation.
“We will continue to aggressively expand our services in Trinidad & Tobago and Haiti, as we have seen tremendous acceptance by our mobile customers in these markets which, in turn, has led us to significantly increase our investment in both of these countries. We are delighted that, yet again, the international investment community has demonstrated it’s strong confidence in our growth strategy and current expansion efforts,” said Colm Delves, Digicel Group CEO.
In conjunction with the successful high yield initiative and as a result of the continued confidence of the international financing community in the company’s dynamic business strategy, Digicel has further enhanced the terms of it US$600 million debt facility.
“The market has spoken and again we’ve seen unprecedented demand, as when we led Digicel’s inaugural bond in 2005,” said Blake Haider, Director, Latin & Caribbean Debt Capital Markets at Citigroup. ”Citigroup is proud to have a long-standing relationship with this world-class management team, and the company’s substantial growth, new market penetration, and operational and marketing expertise have all been attractive to potential investors since its inception.
“We are pleased to continue our relationship with the Digicel Group and we believe that the company’s technology and solid performance have had a significant impact on customers throughout the Caribbean,” said James Seagrave of JP Morgan. “We look forward to seeing Digicel further its global expansion efforts in key markets.”
Digicel further its global expansion efforts in key markets.”Digicel has encountered a significant period of strategic growth and acquisitions since its 2001 inception in Jamaica. With a unique combination of bold deal making, intense customer focus, attention to detail and speed to market, the company has quickly become the largest GSM provider in the region with operations in 20 Caribbean markets.
Almost one year ago, Digicel announced the acquisition of the Cingular Wireless assets in the Caribbean and Bermuda, which quickly accelerated the expansion of its operations to several new markets.
In April 2006, Digicel closed its US$192 million acquisition of Bouygues Telecom Caraibe, which extended Digicel’s operations to Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana. That same month, the company launched its Trinidad & Tobago operations followed by Haiti in early May.
Earlier this month, the company launched services in Turks & Caicos and Bonaire, increasing mobile competition in both of these markets. Digicel’s total investment in the Caribbean stands at US$1.2 billion and the company directly employs 2,000 having doubled its employee base in the space of just one year.
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Since its launch in 2001, Digicel has become the fastest growing wireless telecommunications operator in the Caribbean. After five years, Digicel is renowned for competitive rates, unbeatable coverage, superior customer care, a wide variety of products and services, and state-of-the-art handsets. It is the largest GSM operator in the region.
Digicel is incorporated in Bermuda and has operations in twenty markets including Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, Curaçao, The Cayman Islands, Dominica, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago & Turks & Caicos. Digicel also has coverage in St. Martin and St. Barths and expects further significant growth. The company is the lead sponsor of Caribbean sports teams including the West Indies Cricket Team, Special Olympics teams across the Caribbean and is title sponsor of the Digicel Caribbean Football Union Cup, which involves over 30 Caribbean countries and is an important qualifier towards the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
For more information, visit www.digicelgroup.com.