Orange returns to revenue growth in 2016

Orange

Orange saw sales grow 0.6 percent last year, after falls in 2014 and 2015, as the sale of its stake in EE led to a double-digit increase in profits.

Like-for-like revenues hit €40.9 billion in 2016, as the France-based operator trumpeted a 75 percent increase in its fibre customer base, to 3.3 million, and a 58 percent jump, to 28 million, in the number of subscribers in Europe using 4G.

A one percent decline in sales in France, to €19 billion, was offset by a 2.4 percent increase in the rest of Europe.

Spain was the best performer, with revenues rising six percent to €5 billion.

Poland again suffered as sales dropped 2.4 percent to €2.6 billion, but the fourth quarter saw revenues recover with an increase of 1.9 percent on “strong” mobile equipment sales.

In Africa and the Middle East, sales were up 2.6 percent to €5.2 billion, although the operator noted slowing growth in the fourth quarter.

Enterprise revenues grew 0.7 percent to €6.4 billion.

[Read more: Orange teams up with Huawei to launch new public cloud service for business]

Group EBITDA ticked up 1.3 percent to €12.7 billion, partly due a reduction in the workforce – the number of full-time employees fell by 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter alone.

Net income rose over 10 percent to €3.3 billion, thanks in part to the sale of its stake in EE to BT, which was finalised in January 2016.

All told, Orange’s mobile customer base was up 0.9 percent to 201.7 million, while the number of fixed broadband subscribers increased 3.5 percent to 18.3 million.

CEO Stéphane Richard said: “In 2016, we are reaping the benefits of our strategy of differentiation through investment and customer experience with the return to growth in our revenues and EBITDA.

“The confirmation of an improving trend allows us to consider a redistribution of the value created with, for our shareholders, a proposed increase in the dividend for 2017, a year that will be key for the Group with the launch of Orange Bank during the first half."
 
Read more: Orange admits to slow growth at Polish bank ahead of launch in France

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