International telco, Orange Group, has been ordered to pay its Caribbean based rival Digicel nearly €250m in compensation for breaking anti-competition legislation in the French Caribbean.
A court in Paris ruled that Orange must pay Digicel €181.5 million in compensation and €68 million in interest, a spokesman for Orange Group told journalists from RTE.
France’s telecoms watchdog ruled that in 2009 Orange Group had impeded the growth of its rivals unfairly by signing a string of exclusivity agreements with channel partners and distributors.
Orange Group is currently in the process of deciding whether it will launch an appeal against the record fine. The Paris based international telecoms group had previously set aside around €346 million to cover the cost of the ruling. The case relates to Orange’s business practices in Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana in the early 2000s.
Digicel is one of the biggest mobile network operators in the Caribbean and is present in 31 markets across the Caribbean, Latin America and the Asia Pacific region.
Digicel is currently in the process of reducing its debt pile and last week stated that it will complete its debt reduction process shortly. This should free up around $125 million in annual interest payments alone.