Cell C to mitigate S&P downgrade

August 23, 2019 • Mobile and Telecoms, Southern Africa

Cell C to mitigate S&P downgrade

Cell C expects that the expanded roaming agreement will advance their path to sustainability.

In March 2019, Cell C appointed Douglas Craigie Stevenson as interim CEO. He went on to publish an open letter detailing the plans to rescue the network provider from debt, poor business performance and liquidity problems.

“We don’t have another chance to do this again. We have to do this right,” said Stevenson.

Five months into his appointment, Cell C granted Stevenson, who previously worked as the CEO of Telekom Networks Malawi Plc, the opportunity to take up the permanent CEO role with immediate effect.

Since taking office, Stevenson appointed ‘Deloitte as independent financial restructuring advisors to assist in optimising business processes’, ‘Bowmans attorneys to investigate any parts of the business where we suspect that there may be irregular business practices’ as well as ‘PwC to do a full procurement audit and review of our processes’ – all in an effort to ensure that there is clarity and transparency within the organisation.

And while the company seemed to believe they are on the right track to turning Cell C around – financial analytics company, S&P Global released a report on Friday, 23 August 2019, downgrading Cell C to D (Default) status.

According to Cell C, the suspension of interest payments in July is part of the wider initiatives to improve liquidity and to restructure their balance sheet.  They also aim to continue to work proactively with all stakeholders to improve its liquidity, debt profile and long-term competitiveness as part of its strategic roadmap.

Earlier in August 2019, Cell C announced that it has entered into a term sheet to expand the provisions of its roaming agreement with MTN to better control its capital expenditure and operating costs.  Through this agreement, the company hopes to lay the groundwork for broader national roaming.

Cell C expects that the expanded roaming agreement together with the recapitalisation transaction will advance their path to sustainability.

Stevenson adds, ”We are committed to simplifying the business model, right-sizing and optimising the business.  We have engaged with S&P throughout this process and believe we are on the right track with the transactions currently being finalised.”

Edited by Jenna Cook

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