Published On: Wed, Jul 9th, 2014

Telecommunication company UTS loses 29 million guilders

UTS_logoWILLEMSTAD - United Telecommunications Services (UTS) has reported a 29 million guilders loss over 2013. This is in contrast to the UTS Eastern Caribbean NV based in St. Maarten which made a profit of just over 13 million guilders in 2013.

According to the local telecommunication company, they hope to sell problematic daughter companies in Suriname (Uniqua) and St. Kitts, citing that without the two the company would have made a profit of 4.7 million guilders.

UTS Eastern Caribbean NV based in St. Maarten, which includes St. Kitts and Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Barths along with St. Maarten/St. Martin, made a profit before tax of just over 13 million guilders in 2013. This is including the losses of St. Kitts.

UTS management had indicated in 2012 that both the Suriname and St. Kitts companies were no longer feasible and concluded in the third quarter of 2013 that they would be sold. UTS hopes to sell them by the third quarter of 2014. The two daughter companies accrued a loss of 34 million guilders in 2013.

The Minister of Transportation and Urban Planning Earl Balborda confirmed that UTS in St. Maarten was profitable. “I don’t understand why UTS management had chosen to highlight the negative figures of Suriname and St. Kitts in its annual report, while failing to mention the positive,” the Minister indicated.

He also pointed out that daughter company TeleCuraçao was profitable. Whether this involved any subsidies is unknown. It is also unclear whether UTS in Curaçao is making a profit or a loss, as the figures are consolidated across companies.

A voluntary round of employment terminations last year cost UTS 21 million guilders, but it is regarded as a one-time cost and should not influence future profits. Besides this, 62 million guilders have gone to government coffers and 19 million guilders have gone to the Bureau of Telecommunications, Post and Utilities – expenses that UTS pointed out are not benefiting its clients.

As a stakeholder, the Government also has received the figures and will pass them on to governmental accountant bureau SOAB for auditing. It will make an official statement on UTS' negative results that first will be made known at a stakeholder meeting, which are the Governments of Curaçao and Sint Maarten.

Moving forward, UTS said more efforts would be put into lowering prices, while focusing at the same time on customer service.

Company profits took a four per cent dive in 2013, compared to global figures ranging from three to seven per cent, partially because of a global change in communication trends: fewer people make calls on their phones in comparison to other means of electronic communication.

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