Published On: Thu, Oct 8th, 2015

Digicel opts to withdraw IPO plans

digicelCaribbean telecoms group Digicel has abandoned its plans to go public “at this time”, just four months after filing for an IPO.

The company, led by Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien (pictured), cited “current conditions, particularly in emerging markets,” as reasons for the move.

Digicel hoped to raise as much as $2 billion from the listing, most of which was earmarked towards paying a debt load standing at approximately $6 billion.

In a statement, O’Brien said recent volatility in equity markets saw a number of IPOs listing at a discount to their signalled price range, making “this a less attractive route for us”.

Reuters reports five companies which made their market debut last week were forced to cut their offer price below the expected range.

Digicel’s planned IPO was set to be one of the biggest by an Irish led company since the country’s financial crisis.

While reducing debt, the move was further designed around Digicel’s ambitions to evolve “from a pure mobile telecoms company into a leading total communications and entertainment provider”.

The company has however been struggling to make money for a while.

For the year ending in March 2015 it reported a $157.6 million loss on revenue of $2.79 billion, compared with a profit of $43.5 million on revenue of $2.75 billion a year earlier. The company has approximately 13.6 million subscribers in 31 markets, with it operating in the Caribbean and South Pacific markets.

“The revenue is flat, they are losing money and the company is not growing – It would not be seen as the most attractive of investments,” Jay Ritter, professor of finance, university of Florida, told Reuters.

Despite not progressing with the listing, O’Brien remains defiant, stating Digicel’s growth plans “remain unchanged”.

“We remain in a strong position to exploit areas of interest in data, business solutions, cable TV and broadband,” he claimed.

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