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TSTT records $505m loss

State-controlled Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) has recorded a loss of more than half-a-billion dollars for its financial year ended March 31, 2014.

Even though its revenues and asset base grew during the year, they were not enough to address a number of “significant” one-off costs which led to the loss, a pre-audit financial statement from TSTT acting chief executive George Hill indicated yesterday.

TSTT posted an estimated total comprehensive loss for the year of $505 million. 

“The higher gross revenues and lower operating costs were eclipsed, though not unexpectedly, by provisions made for TSTT’s Voluntary Separation Programme; retroactive payments from an Industrial Court ruling on employee costs for 2006 and 2007 and a write-down of the carrying value of a portion of the company’s service delivery platform,” TSTT said. “These items had a cumulative impact of over $727 million.”

TSTT previously posted a $91.7 million net profit after tax for its ended March 31, 2012.

This was a 131 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

Hill, however, maintained yesterday the first year of the company’s five-year strategic plan has not yielded any surprises. 

“TSTT’s Five-Year Strategic Plan which focuses on network infrastructure, service automation and organisation transformation has anticipated gains and setbacks associated with its implementation and these have largely materialised as planned,” he said.

He noted that as a result of an aggressive cost management programme that included control of TSTT’s receivables, vendor management and debt policy, TSTT was able to realise a 2.7 per cent increase in gross revenues.

“The company’s financial position as evidenced by a review of the balance sheet remains strong and continues to reflect a consolidated and robust asset base where total assets increased by 1.6 per cent,” Hill said.

He added: “Looking ahead, the year two of the Five-Year Strategic Plan will build on the positive developments made in year one. The write-down of a portion of the service delivery platform is making way for a significant automation upgrade which will improve service responsiveness and cost of serving.”

The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) yesterday said TSTT has instituted VSEP packages for 200 senior employees and accused Government of attempting to transform TSTT into one of its “election campaign bases” ahead of next year’s general election. 

In a statement, CWU deputy secretary general Bryan St Louis said the union had “grave concerns” regarding the appointment of Arnold Ram as the company’s Head of Corporate Support Services. 

The union described this as a “sinister plot” to entrench supporters of the Government in the company.

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