France Télécom (FT) posted a 6.7% rise in gross operating profits to EUR4.67 billion (USD5.8 billion) for the three months to 31 March 2006, boosted by the acquisition of Spanish mobile operator Amena last year, and stuck to its forecasts for the full year. The European heavyweight expects to generate cash flows of more than EUR7 billion in 2006, as it announced plans to launch new internet and mobile services in the second half of the year, under the Orange brand name. EBITDA rose to EUR4.67 billion, from EUR4.38 billion in the corresponding period of 2005, on revenues of EUR12.81 billion, up 10.3% on a historical basis, and higher than analysts’ average forecast of EUR12.71 billion. The group’s UK mobile business Orange (UK) performed better than expected, posting revenues of EUR1.44 billion, while sales at FT’s domestic fixed line business dipped 1.4% to EUR4.35 billion, in line with expectations.
At the start of April this year FT had a total of 147 million customers, up 16.8% year-on-year, including 8.1 million ADSL users in Europe. In its domestic market FT had 4.9 million ADSL users and held a consumer ADSL market share of 49.8%; it also boasted 1.2 million French VoIP users, up 45% since 31 December 2005.