Digicel still in talks with lenders as it delays deadline on $3bn debt swap yet again

Telco remains in talks to ease strain of $6.7bn debt pile

Digicel says it remains in “constructive discussions with an ad hoc group of noteholders”. Photograph: Swoan Parker/Reuters

Digicel says it remains in “constructive discussions with an ad hoc group of noteholders”. Photograph: Swoan Parker/Reuters

 

Denis O’Brien’s Caribbean telco Digicel has, for the fourth time in just two months, extended the deadline for a $3 billion (€2.7 billion) debt swap, as it remains locked in talks with lenders to ease the strain of its $6.7 billion debt pile.

Mr O’Brien’s company wants holders of two different note classes to accept new terms, effectively giving the telco two extra years to repay the debt. Digicel wants $2 billion of debts due for repayment in 2020 pushed out until 2022, and repayment of $1 billion of loan notes due in 2022 delayed until 2024.

It announced on Tuesday afternoon that the deadline for lenders to sign up is being extended from November 16th until one minute before midnight, east coast US time, on November 30th.

The latest extension has pushed the date out to eight weeks ahead of the original timetable. The first deadline for acceptance of the bond swap was set for the last Friday in September, before it was pushed back to October 19th, and then again until the first Friday of November, and then the 16th.

The proposed changes have been resisted by a cohort of bondholders, delaying the plan and keeping Digicel at the negotiating table.

Digicel, as it has suggested several times previously, says it remains in “constructive discussions with an ad hoc group of noteholders”.