Pan-Caribbean wireless group Digicel has reported its first net profit since its launch in 2001. Digicel, which comprises mobile phone operations in 31 markets across the Caribbean, Pacific and Latin America, recorded a net profit of USD41 million in the twelve months to 31 March 2009, compared to a loss of USD74 million in the previous year. ‘It is an important landmark for us,’ Digicel’s chief executive Colm Delves told The Irish Times. At a pre-tax level, Digicel posted a profit of USD113 million compared with a loss of USD48 million in the previous period. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) reached USD680 million, a 34% increase year-on-year. Revenues rose by 11% to USD1.73 billion, while its subscriber base was up 34% to 9.2 million. The company’s net debt at the end of March was USD2.7 billion.
Digicel said the growth in subscribers was helped by successful rollouts in El Salvador (where it now has about a million customers), Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname. It also launched in the British Virgin Islands during the year. It also has more than two million subscribers in the impoverished state of Haiti and just shy of that figure in Jamaica, giving it market shares of 65% and 75% respectively. Digicel Central America launched in Honduras and Panama in late 2008; together they signed up 1.1 million subscribers in their first five months of operation.