O’Brien’s US$1.4bn bond is oversubscribed


28 Feb 2007

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Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien’s US$1.4bn corporate bond offering, which would grant him 100pc of his mobile telecoms firm Digicel, representing the largest bond offering in the Caribbean, was five times oversubscribed.

The bond offering was led by investment banks Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase. It also involved Lehman Brothers, Credit Suisse, Davy Stockbrokers and Goodbody Stockbrokers.

It attracted orders from around 300 accounts across the international finance community including the US, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.

O’Brien’s Digicel is regarded as one of the fastest-growing telecoms companies in the world and its assault on 22 markets in the Caribbean and South and Central American has been relentless.

The company recorded revenues of US$948m for the six months ended in September 2006 and has a total customer base of four million subscribers. The company started operations in Jamaica less than six years ago.

“The response to our offering reflects the confidence in the prospects for future growth and development of Digicel under the direction of a dynamic management team and a dedicated workforce,” Denis O’Brien commented.

The transaction is the largest bond offering ever undertaken in the Caribbean, said Ken McGrath, managing director of Citigroup.

“We believe that the success of the offering was a result of the Digicel’s growth prospects and most particularly to the credibility of the management team to continue to grow the business as the leading Caribbean wireless operator,” McGrath said.

O’Brien previously owned 78pc of the shares of Digicel Limited and used the US$1.4bn bond offer to acquire 100pc of the company.

By John Kennedy