Multinational telecoms operator Orange Group has published its financial results for the three months ended 31 March 2019, claiming ‘stable revenues and continued growth in EBITDA’. In the period under review, the France-based company generated a total turnover of EUR10.185 billion (USD11.42 billion), a marginal 0.1% year-on-year decrease on a comparable basis. The group reported growth in revenues at its units in Spain (up 0.4%), Europe (1.4%) and Africa and the Middle East (5.3%), which was partly offset by a decline at its domestic unit (down 1.8%). EBITDA after Leases (EBITDAaL) for Q1 2019 stood at EUR2.583 billion, up 0.7% from EUR2.565 billion in the year-earlier period. Capital expenditures in the period under review totalled EUR1.632 billion, up 8.4% from EUR1.505 billion in 1Q18.
In operational terms, Orange Group claimed 263.694 million customers (excluding MVNOs) worldwide at the end of March 2019, up from 262.771 million twelve months earlier. Mobile subscribers accounted for 203.781 million of customer accounts, with 64.8% of these being post-paid users. In its domestic market, Orange reported that its subscriber base reached 33.520 million, a 4.7% increase y-o-y (over 1.8 million net additions), with 22.118 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 16.187 million, up 0.7% y-o-y), and Belgium and Luxembourg (4.407 million, 8.8%), while the Central European countries of Romania, Slovakia and Moldova had signed up a combined total of 14.445 million mobile users by end-March 2019, down 0.2% from 14.475 million a year earlier. Africa and the Middle East contributed a total of 120.385 million subscribers, a decrease of 0.4% y-o-y. Growth was reported in Niger (up 31.8%), the Central African Republic (CAR, 32.5%), Botswana (14.5%), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC, 10.3%) and Madagascar (10.3%), while Egypt and Cote d’Ivoire disclosed annual drops of 11.6% and 4.5%, respectively. Orange’s consolidated fixed broadband user base climbed to 20.275 million by end-March 2019, a 3.5% improvement on the 19.582 million reported a year earlier, of which 6.714 million were fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) subscriptions (5.140 million at end-March 2018).
Commenting on the results, Stephane Richard, chairman and CEO of Orange Group, said: ‘During the first quarter, the group succeeded in maintaining its high quality commercial performance in spite of a particularly challenging competitive context notably in our two principal countries of France and Spain. Our strategy is paying off since EBITDAal is continuing to grow, while revenues remain stable, allowing us to reaffirm our 2019 objectives. It’s worth noting that while the level of eCapex for this quarter is higher, it should reduce slightly for 2019 as a whole, as predicted, excluding the effect of the network sharing agreement with Vodafone in Spain announced on 25 April.’