Digicel’s recent decision to file for bankruptcy in Bermuda will not have a negative impact on its operations here in Barbados.
That assurance has been given by Digicel Barbados director Ralph Bizzy Williams, who said the move to file for bankruptcy was made to facilitate the restructuring of debt.
The regional telecommunications giant has made it clear that its day-to-day operations will not be affected by the filing.
The bankruptcy filing involves the appointment of three provisional liquidators from KPMG and is part of Digicel’s attempt to restructure US$1.6 billion of its estimated US$7 billion debt.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Williams said there was no need for the 150 employees at Digicel Barbados to worry right now.
“Digicel is incorporated in Bermuda so that is where they would file. Digicel is already negotiated a very substantial reduction in its debt obligations with the bondholders of Digicel Worldwide and that was very successfully done about two or three weeks ag
“So this is just a completion of the process to reduce the costs of operating the company worldwide and it can only augur good for the performance of the company in Barbados and everywhere else.
“It will have no effect on Barbados whatsoever. The decision was taken to file for bankruptcy in Bermuda to streamline the restructuring of the company worldwide and it is moving very smoothly. Barbados will not be affected. We have very good staff here and the company will continue to deliver the best cellular service available in Barbados,” Williams maintained.
The prominent businessman, however, did not rule out possible restructuring of Digicel Barbados in the future.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic had affected companies across the world and finding ways to cut costs was imperative.
“Well there are always plans to improve the efficiency of the company as much as possible. At this stage I can’t announce any plans for any restructuring here. The COVID-19 has hit these companies very hard indeed all over the world and there is a need to cut costs wherever we can obviously and I think that is true for any business, not only Digicel. I’m sure every other business is trying to cut costs,” Williams said.
He said Digicel Barbados’ recent initiative to assist Government in outfitting children with tablets and the necessary equipment to facilitate online learning was a positive sign for the company and demonstrated that Digicel Barbados was still in a financial position to exercise its corporate responsibility.
“Digicel has been extremely generous recently to help schoolchildren get their tablets so they can study from home and Digicel has also provided MiFis so that people without WiFi can get internet in their homes and the children can continue to study.
“So I think Digicel has been behaving like a very responsible corporate customer in Barbados,” Williams said.
Earlier this month, Digicel instituted a group-wide salary reduction due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of those cuts managers at the highest salary tiers received a 20 per cent cut while employees at lower salary tiers were asked to take a five per cent reduction.
Additionally, Digicel also announced the chairman and all non-executive directors would waive their entire salaries for the first quarter of the fiscal year.
Digicel is owned by Irish businessman Denis O’Brien and operates in 33 markets across the Caribbean, Central America and the Oceania regions.
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