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V.I.-Based Telecom Stock Soars on Corporate News

March 14, 2006 — Atlantic Tele-Network, the V.I.-based telecommunications firm, saw its stock soar by close to 10 percent yesterday, in the wake of a series of corporate announcements.
Atlantic Tele-Network Chairman Cornelius Prior, says that, to the best of his knowledge, ATN is not only the largest but also the only public corporation headquartered in the Virgin Islands. Public corporations are those registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; such companies have multiple stockholders and must meet detailed SEC financial reporting requirements.
The stock, which is traded on New York's American Stock Exchange, closed at $50.75, up by $4.25 from the day earlier. The closing price reflects more than a 9 percent one-day increase in the stock price. The stock price had been about $40 when trading closed last Thursday, March 10, so the two-day increase in value is about 25 percent.
ATN has in recent weeks announced:
–the acquisition of a wireless phone company in Vermont, SoVerNet Inc., in a cash transaction worth more than $12 million;
–higher 2005 profits than the previous year; going from $12.1 million or $2.41 per share in 2004 to $13.6 million or $2.73 per share for 2005; and
–a stock split, giving existing stockholders three shares for every two they currently hold. The stock prices noted above relate to the pre-split stock, as the stock split goes into effect at the end of March.
Late last year ATN announced the acquisition of 95 percent of the stock of Commnet Wireless LLC, which owns and operates wireless networks in rural areas of 12 mainland states, in the western and southern United States, including California. ATN paid $59 million for the corporation, which will continue to be managed by Brian Schuchman, who holds the other 5 percent of the stock.
ATN's subsidiaries also include Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company Ltd., that nation's principal phone company, and Choice Communications, which provides wireless television and wireless broadband services in the U.S. Virgin Islands. ATN also owns 44 per cent of the largest provider of cellular voice and data services in Bermuda.
When asked if these financial successes of ATN would have any impact on its role in the Virgin Islands, Prior responded: "Unfortunately our experience in the world of performance for stockholders may not be helpful to us in our efforts to persuade the Public Services Commission to let us provide competitive telephone service in the Virgin Islands."
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