Flow Jamaica makes $50 billion

Although Cable & Wireless Communications, CWC, has seen a decline in some of its big markets, the gains made by Jamaica and other have contributed to stronger earnings for the group.
Cable &Wireless Jamaica, which trades as Flow, generated US$383 million, ($50 billion), in annual revenue for its financial year ending December 2019.
That’s six per cent more than the US$363 million earned a year earlier.
Management attributed the revenue gain to increased subscribers but did not speak to the impact of price increases on select services implemented during the year.
Flow Jamaica falls under CWC’s regional network, which is owned by the Liberty communications group.
Other Caribbean territories reporting increased revenue for the year included Trinidad and Curacao. The net effect for the region was record results.
“[It was] our best results since acquisition of C&W since the second quarter of 2016,” Chris Noyes, the chief financial officer for Liberty Latin America, said on an investor call last week.
For 2020, Liberty forecasts low single-digit growth in revenue and operating cash flow for the regional Cable & Wireless operation.
The leading territory in the C&W chain remains Panama but that market continues to suffer from competition. Its revenue slipped to US$580 million from US$597 million a year earlier.
Bahamas, another market affected by competition, recorded a dip in revenue from US$229 million to US$207 million.
The level of operating cash flow generated for each market was not disclosed.
Liberty Latin America remains in acquisitive mode at a time when other telecoms in the region are pulling back.
Last year, Telefonica exited Central America and now plans to sell the bulk of its South American operations this year, with the exception of Brazil. Last year, Digicel entered deals to sell and lease back a portion of its cell towers.
Retail
The old Flow and LIME operated numerous stores in each of their own markets. During the brand redesign phase, CWC commissioned retail design experts, Shikatani Lacroix, to come up with a new look and feel of the brand’s stores. The new store format was unveiled at the FLOW Fairview store in Montego Bay, Jamaica on October 17, 2015. To date, the new stores have also been unveiled in Portmore in Jamaica as well as in St. Kitts and Nevis. In future, the brand has plans to offer one-on-one customer service, where the customer would be able to purchase handsets on the spot in addition to its other in-store services.
Controversy
The merger of CWC and Columbus caused a stir in the Caribbean as most of the fibre-optic links leaving the region were owned by either CWC or Columbus or both. Many industry oversight committees in the region voiced their disapproval of the merger as well as the company’s largest competitor, Digicel which at the time did not own any undersea fiber. The governments of Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados conditionally approved the merger given certain criteria. In countries like Jamaica, however, the merger was approved by their Minister with responsibility for Telecommunications uncontested.
In 2014 Cable & Wireless acquired Flow parent for US$3billion and rival Digicel knocks deal as bad for competition.
Digicel’s Group slowly creep into the cable market and has been trumped by chief rival Cable & Wireless Commu-nications (CWC) with a massive deal announced on Tuesday that is expected to eventually merge the operations of phone company LIME with triple-play operator Flow.
CWC has Columbus International Inc, which owns Flow networks in seven markets and Karib Cable in one, for about US$3 billion, inclusive of debt.
The parties have a conditional agreement on the cash and shares transaction for 100 per cent of Columbus’ equity, but Digicel is already signalling that it will be seeking the intervention of regulators, saying the deal raises issues about competition.
Under the agreement between the parties, CWC will pay cash of US$707.5 million and issue 1,557,529,605 new ordinary shares in CWC to three Columbus shareholders, giving them 36 per cent ownership in Cable & Wireless.
The cash and share issue are valued at US$1.85 billion. Columbus’ debt of about US$1.2 billion by CWC.
It also invest US$145 million of capital in the operation spent over three years period, dating from the closing of the acquisition.
Columbus offers broadband, fixed-line telephony and cable or subscriber television services to a customer base of about 700,000 – operating as Flow in Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, St Vincent & the Grenadines, St Lucia and Curaçao and as Karib in Antigua.

Koffee at media briefing is hot in demand

One week after winning the Best Reggae Album category at the 62nd Grammy Awards, Koffee’s Rapture (EP) has seen an increase in sales. The five-song mini set jumped from number 11 to two on Nielsen Music’s Reggae Albums Sales Chart.

Nielsen Music’s chart is sales-driven (covering CDs, digital, and vinyl sales), while the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart (over the past four weeks) is a consumption list, ranking titles from a combination of sales and streaming.

Rapture sold 224 copies, an increase over the 26 copies it sold the week before the Grammy Awards. To date, it has sold 4,378 copies since its March 2019 release.

Distributed by Columbia Records, Rapture moves up four places to number three on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart, where Bob Marley and The Wailers’ Legend: The Best of Bob Marley & the Wailers, leads for a fourth week.