France's Orange posts steep earnings drop but 'hits targets'

GMT 13:47 2015 Tuesday ,17 February

Arab Today, arab today France's Orange posts steep earnings drop but 'hits targets'

France's Orange
Paris - AFP

France's telecoms giant Orange posted a nearly 50 percent drop in earnings last year to 1.22 billion euros ($1.38 billion) from 2013 in a crowded market.
The decrease in net income was "principally due to the impact of specific items unrelated to operating performance," Orange said in a statement.
Financial director Ramon Fernandez said the group invested 5.6 billion euros in 2014, or 14.3 percent of its turnover, compared with 13.7 percent in 2013.
"For the whole of the year, revenues were 39.4 billion euros, down 2.5 percent" on a comparable basis, he said in a conference call with reporters, adding that the group had "reached all its targets".
The former state-owned monopoly reined in its debt from 30.7 billion euros to 26 billion euros, Fernandez noted.
"High-speed broadband is a growth engine in Europe" as well as an opportunity to recapture market share, he said, adding that Orange aimed to position itself as a leader in high-speed broadband and quality of service.
At the end of the year Orange counted 3.7 million 4G subscribers and passed the four million mark early this month.
The group is France's leading cell phone operator and its 256,000 sales in the fourth quarter of 2014 amounted to "our best quarterly performance since 2008", Fernandez said.
In Spain, Orange will spend 3.4 billion euros to acquire telecom operator Jazztel, while in Britain the group will gain 4.6 billion euros from the sale of EE, a British mobile phone brand operated jointly by Orange and Deutsche Telekom of Germany, to BT.
The deal is subject to an in-depth anti-trust probe by the European Commission to see if it distorts the market and undercuts customer choice.
Orange plans to pay out a dividend of 60 euro cents per share for 2014 and again this year, Fernandez said.
Orange CEO Stephane Richard will unveil a five-year strategic plan on March 17.

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