Fitch downgrades Digicel Group
Fitch Ratings has downgraded the issuer default ratings of Digicel Group Limited, Digicel Group Two Limited and Digicel Group One Limited to ‘C' from ‘CC', ‘CC', and ‘CCC', respectively, following the suspension of interest payments on the latter two instruments.
This follows the group's disclosure of ongoing discussions with creditors regarding a debt exchange and a reduction in principal. Fitch indicated in November that the company would likely have to restructure debt at multiple levels, due to Digicel's unsustainable financial structure and imminent refinancing risk.
On Monday, Digicel entered a 30-day grace period and deferred interest payments on its “group one” and “group two” obligations.
Fitch said that on March 27, Digicel announced discussions with creditors regarding potential transactions involving debt exchanges at a discount to the existing principal values. While the negotiations are ongoing, Fitch said it expects that Digicel will restructure debt at multiple levels.
Fitch also said Digicel has weak liquidity, due to “its persistently negative FCF, high cash interest burden and limited financial flexibility. Readily available cash at the consolidated level stood at $126 million as of December 31, excluding $21 million of restricted cash, versus short-term debt of $234 million”.