Multinational telecoms operator Orange Group has published its financial results for the twelve months ended 31 December 2018, claiming accelerated growth in revenues, adjusted EBITDA and operating cash flow. In the period under review, the France-based company generated a total turnover of EUR41.381 billion (USD47 billion), a 1.3% year-on-year increase on a comparable basis. The group reported growth in revenues at its units in France (up 0.9%), Central Europe (1.7%) and Spain (2.2%), which was partly offset by a decline at its International Carriers and Shared services unit (down 6.1%). Adjusted EBITDA for 2018 stood at EUR13.005 billion, up 2.7% from EUR12.660 billion in the year-earlier period, with a margin of 31.8% (up from 31.2%). Capital expenditures in the period under review totalled EUR7.442 billion, up 3.5% from EUR7.191 billion in 2017.
In operational terms, Orange Group claimed 263.962 million customers (excluding MVNOs) worldwide at the end of 2018, up from 263.423 million twelve months earlier. Mobile subscribers accounted for 203.618 million of customer accounts, with 70.8% of these being post-paid users. In its domestic market, Orange reported that its subscriber base reached 33.108 million, a 4.2% increase y-o-y (over 1.3 million net additions), with 21.725 million of those subscribed to mobile services (excluding M2M). Elsewhere, Orange reported subscriber growth in the likes of Spain (where it claimed a user base of 16.186 million, up 1.8% y-o-y), and Belgium and Luxembourg (4.342 million, 7.5%), while the Central European countries of Romania, Slovakia and Moldova had signed up a combined total of 14.603 million mobile users by end-December 2018, down 1.0% from 14.749 million a year earlier. Africa and the Middle East contributed a total of 120.574 million subscribers, a decrease of 0.7% y-o-y. Growth was reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC, up 17.0%), Niger (32.3%), Botswana (16.6%), the Central African Republic (CAR, 24.3%) and Burkina Faso (15.1%), while Egypt and Sonatel Group disclosed annual drops of 13.6% and 1.8%, respectively. Orange’s consolidated fixed broadband user base climbed to 20.145 million by end-2018, a 3.9% improvement on the 19.386 million reported a year earlier, of which 6.345 million were fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) subscriptions (4.762 million at end-2017).
Commenting on the results, Stephane Richard, chairman and CEO of the Orange Group, said: ‘With an increase in revenues of 1.3%, a 2.7% growth in adjusted EBITDA and an excellent commercial performance across all of our geographies, 2018 confirmed the validity of our strategic focus on fibre, 4G and convergence, in a market environment that remains highly competitive. Maintaining our steady pace of deployment, we passed 29 million FTTH-connected households in Europe, confirming our position as number one for the third consecutive year. In France, in particular, 2018 has been a record year with approaching 600,000 net sales taking us to a total of 2.6 million FTTH clients. The quality of our mobile networks continues to make the difference: we were voted best network in France for the eighth consecutive year and we deployed 4G in twelve countries in the Middle East and Africa.’