Digicel Group to lay ground for refinancing of bond

The Irish Times newspaper is reporting that within the next month Digicel Group will begin to lay the ground for an eventual US$2 billion  refinancing of a bond maturing in 2020. 

The so-called "non-deal roadshow" comes after the 2020 yield rose as high as 15.4 per cent from 8.5 per cent – making it the worst emerging markets performer this year.

Digicel has a history of  refinancing early and according to the Irish Times some investors might have hoped the company would move to redeem the 2020 bond this year.

Sources say while no final decision has been made, that might not happen soon should yields remain close to their current level, even after a recent dip.

Since 2001, Digicel has accumulated about US$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.

Meanwhile, the Irish Times says momentum at Digicel has stalled.

It said a source revealed underlying revenue in its fiscal third-quarter dropped about three per cent from the year-earlier period to about US$580 million.

According to the source, a number of issues were at play.

Among these were delays in signing some corporate contracts, new incentives to drive data use which hurt short-term earnings and persistent weakness in Papua New Guinea's economy, a key market for the company.


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