Multinational telecoms operator Orange Group has published its financial results for the six months ended 30 June 2019, claiming that ‘revenues return to growth and EBITDAaL [EBITDA after Leases] continues to increase’. In the period under review, the France-based company generated a total turnover of EUR20.573 billion (USD22.92 billion), a marginal 0.2% year-on-year increase on a comparable basis (1.% on historical basis). The group reported growth in revenues at its units in Europe (1.3%), Africa and the Middle East (5.6%) and Enterprise (0.6%), partly offset by a decline at its domestic unit (down 0.9%) and in Spain (0.6%). EBITDAaL for H1 2019 stood at EUR5.958 billion, up 0.8% from EUR5.909 billion in the year-earlier period. Capital expenditures in the period under review totalled EUR3.509 billion, up 5.5% from EUR3.327 billion in 1H18. Orange Group booked a net income of EUR1.137 billion for 1H 2019, compared to EUR879 million in the corresponding period of 2018, benefitting from improved operating income as well as improved financial income, which included lower impairment of the Group’s stake in BT.
In operational terms, Orange Group claimed 266.256 million customers (excluding MVNOs) worldwide at the end of June 2019, up from 259.526 million twelve months earlier. Mobile subscribers accounted for 206.874 million of customer accounts, with 64.8% of these being post-paid users. In its domestic market, Orange reported that its subscriber base reached 33.930 million, a 4.5% increase y-o-y (over 1.4 million net additions), with 9.380 million of those subscribed to M2M. Elsewhere, Orange reported subscriber growth in the likes of Spain (where it claimed a user base of 16.386 million, up 2.1% y-o-y), Poland (14.964 million, up 3.3%) and Belgium and Luxembourg (4.507 million, 8.9%), while the Central European countries of Romania, Slovakia and Moldova had signed up a combined total of 14.484 million mobile users by end-June 2019, down 0.1% from 14.497 million a year earlier. Africa and the Middle East contributed a total of 122.603 million subscribers, an increase of 4.5% y-o-y. Growth was reported in Sierra Leone (up 33.6%), Niger (25.9%), the Central African Republic (CAR, 32.7%), Botswana (16.5%), Cameroon (13.6%) and Liberia (13.9%), while Egypt and Cote d’Ivoire disclosed annual drops of 8.6% and 5.1%, respectively. Orange’s consolidated fixed broadband user base climbed to 20.355 million by end-June 2019, a 3.4% improvement on the 19.687 million reported a year earlier, of which 7.030 million were fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) subscriptions (5.486 million at end-June 2018).
Commenting on the results, Stephane Richard, chairman and CEO of Orange Group, said: ‘Although there continues to be strong competition in our key markets, the second-quarter results meant the Group delivered a good performance for the first half with revenues increasing 0.2% and growth in EBITDAaL sustained at 0.8%. It is clear that our strategy in very high-speed broadband remains effective. On fixed services, the acceleration of our fibre deployments in Europe was accompanied by a continually strong commercial performance, which enabled us to attain the level of nearly seven million fibre customers.’