Gallic incumbent France Telecom (FT) has posted its results for the three months ending 30 September 2007. Quarterly sales rose 3.3% year-on-year to EUR13.5 billion (USD19.3 billion), beating analysts’ estimates of a 1.9% rise to EUR13.3 billion. EBITDA was EUR5.09 billion, up 4.3% compared to the same period in 2006, again beating estimates, which were for a sub-1% gain to EUR4.93 billion. On the strength of these results, the operator has revised its forecasts for its year-end profit margins from ‘slight drop’ to ‘stable’. Last year’s EBITDA margin was 35.9%. Chief financial officer Gervais Pellissier said, ‘This is good news on profitability. While remaining prudent on the outlook, that prompts us to review our outlook upwards.’
Wireless business outside FT’s main markets of France, the UK, Spain and Poland were the driving force behind the better than expected growth, with 3Q sales in this segment rising 10% year-on-year to EUR1.98 billion. The firm is cutting jobs in mature markets to reduce costs. FT is one of the world’s largest telecoms operators, serving close to 168 million customers on five continents by the end of September 2007.