TelEm revenue drops, profit close to 7 million guilders


TelEm Group Chief Financial Officer Helma Etnel addresses staff during a meeting at the Belair Community Center. Photo contributed

St. Maarten News – The TelEm Group has reported a profit of close to 7 million guilders for the year 2015 – despite dropping local and international call rates and the widespread use of free calling services on St. Maarten.

The profit figure was announced to TelEm Group personnel by Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Helma Etnel, during a general meeting at the Belair Community Center, Friday.

According to Etnel the profits are due to the combined efforts of TelEm Group management and personnel in all divisions; The was however a significant drop in revenue. It is unclear how much revenue dropped, because the annual report that contains the figures has been sent to the shareholder but it has not been made public.

Media reports suggesting that TelEm’s revenue for the year was only 6 million guilders are erroneous. “This is a 50 million guilder company,” public relations officer Joe Dominique said.

“So while we were getting less money in, we were very conservative with spending and using what we had much more efficiently,” Etnel said.

She was however upbeat about the results. “The figures could not have come at a better time to boost the morale of personnel, with many negative things being reported about the company in the online and print media. I regret that development.”

Etnel urged personnel and managers not to dwell on these negative reports but to remind themselves of all the positive things they have done over the past several years to make the company viable and to continue to provide jobs for St. Maarteners and services for Country St. Maarten.

“We have succeeded in maintaining a majority market share in a very competitive environment. We have shown that we run a tight ship with documented proof that we have our house in order.

“We continued to be transparent in our operation with a top-management layer that makes us a leader so far as integrity and high ethical standards go,” Etnel said, adding that the company has scored over 95% on compliance with the Corporate Governance Code.

Etnel said there have now been consecutive years of profits due to the right strategic decisions, a string of successful investments, conservative spending, more visible branding, and good financial results. “This is all evidence of the good work that have been carried out by management and staff in recent years.”.

The profit made in the past year is quite remarkable at a time when telecommunication revenues and rates are plummeting at an alarming rate globally, and locally due to free messaging- and calling applications such as Whatsapp, Skype, Facebook Messenger and Facetime, Etnel said.

She however warned staff that they still have to meet some serious challenges this year to meet customer expectations for uninterrupted voice and data services and more affordable prices. “We listen to our customers and we are fully aware of the challenges we are facing, and improvements that need to be made.”.

The CFO believes TelEm Group is one of the best corporate citizens on the island.

“Thanks to the board, management and staff, we have together developed a company that spends over 50 million guilders each year in the local economy by payment of taxes, providing salaries to a workforce consisting for 95% of locals, utilizing many local contractors, and payments for products and services from our very own local business etc. We have also provided for the community with many sponsorship programs and contributions, invested a lot in our carnival product, and we can therefore state that TelEm is a major economic contributor, and is one that we should be proud of with many good things to showcase over the past several years.”

Source: Today SXM TelEm revenue drops, profit close to 7 million guilders