C&W to get costs from Digicel after failed claim

| 23/04/2010

(CNS): Cable & Wireless Communications said today in a statement that it has now been awarded its costs for defending the claims by its Caribbean competitor, Digicel, in the UK High Court. Last week the court dismissed the claims by Digicel that Cable & Wireless Communications had unlawfully delayed its entry as a competitor in Caribbean telecoms markets. The court has now ordered Digicel to pay Cable & Wireless Communications and defendant parties’ costs, the telecoms firm said Friday morning.

“The defendants expect to recover the substantial majority of their costs – which ran to at least £15.5 million (US$24 million). Cable & Wireless Communications’ costs recovery will be accounted for as an exceptional gain in its 2010/11 accounts. The case was heard over 77 sitting days in the High Court in London, UK, and heard evidence from 43 witnesses,” Cable & Wireless stated.
Digicel issued its proceedings in July 2007, the day before the Cable and Wireless plc AGM, and at the time announced its claim amounted to “several hundreds of millions of pounds” of damages.
In his costs judgement, Mr Justice Morgan, made a number of comments criticising Digicel’s conduct of its case. The judge said Digicel’s serving of the claim and press announcement were intentionally timed “so that those matters would be potentially damaging to Cable & Wireless plc” and the damages figure quoted in Digicel’s original press statement was “grossly exaggerated”.
C&W also said the judge stated that Digicel had “massively over claimed”, had “put forward an excessive number of allegations of unlawful acts” in its claim and that its claim that Cable & Wireless plc had acted in a conspiracy was “always improbable".
The case involved claims that the Cable & Wireless Communications Group had breached the telecoms statutes in six Caribbean territories (Barbados, Cayman, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Grenada and the Turk & Caicos Islands) which Digicel was entering as a competitor to Cable & Wireless Communications between 2002-06. Similar allegations were also made against TSTT, the Trinidad & Tobago-based telecom operator, in which Cable & Wireless Communications holds a minority stake.
The High Court ruled Cable & Wireless Communications was entitled to costs in six out of the seven jurisdictions on an enhanced “indemnity basis”. The seventh jurisdiction is Trinidad & Tobago, where the court ruled Digicel to pay 87.5% of its recoverable costs. The Court further ordered Digicel to pay the defendants £8 million (US$12 million) of the costs within 28 days on account of its ultimate liability for costs.
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