Digicel, the group which has operations in the Caribbean, Central America and South Pacific, aims to raise nearly $2 billion from an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, most of which will go towards repaying debt.
The company plans to issue 124.1 million Class A shares, priced between $13 and $16 per share. The offering would value the company at just over $5 billion at the top end of the range. Digicel has earmarked $1.3 billion of net proceeds to reduce its debt burden, which stands at about $6 billion.
The listing is thought to be one of the biggest by an Irish-led company since the country’s financial crisis.
Founder and chairman of the board of directors Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien will continue to own all Class B shares as well as control approximately 94 per cent of voting power. Class B shares each carry ten votes per share, compared to just one vote per share with Class A.
The Wall Street Journal cited sources as saying his ownership is now likely to fall to about 60 per cent.
Digicel filed for an IPO back in June. In its regulatory filing, the company said it is “in the process of evolving from a pure mobile telecommunications company into a leading total communications and entertainment provider”.
It added that it intends to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including capital expenditures and acquisitions, as well as repaying existing debts, which will account for the bulk of proceeds.
The company reported a loss for the year to 31 March 2015 of $157.6 million, compared with a prior-year profit of $43.5 million, on revenue of $2.79 billion, up from $2.75 billion.
Digicel provides mobile services to 13.6 million subscribers in 31 markets with an aggregate population of “approximately 32 million people”. It offers HSPA+ or LTE services in 30 markets and claims to hold the number one market position in 21 territories, with mobile market share of more than 50 per cent in 20 markets.