Orange recorded its first quarterly revenue rise in France since 2009, as the company’s fixed business compensated for continued falling ARPU for its mobile unit.
Discussing Orange Group’s Q2 and H1 results, CEO Stephane Richard (pictured) said the company was beginning to see benefits from its converged strategy and infrastructure investments.
During its fiscal Q2 – for the three months to the end of June – the company saw revenue in France grow 0.5 per cent to €4.5 billion.
Mobile connections in its home market grew to 31.2 million, up from 29 million at the same point last year. However, ARPU declined for the second consecutive quarter to €21.70, down 0.5 per cent year on year, leading to a decline in mobile service revenue of 1.1 per cent to €1.6 billion.
Pressure on its mobile unit was offset by a nine per cent growth in revenue attributed to B2C converged services in France and a 1.4 per cent increase in ARPU for its fixed customer base. Fixed revenue grew 1.1 per cent in the quarter to €2.6 billion.
Group revenue for Q2 increased 1.4 per cent year on year to €10.2 billion, attributed to its return to growth in France, continued strong performance in Spain and recovery in its Middle East and Africa business.
Across its European businesses it reported an 11.5 per cent year on year growth in customers taking converged services to 9.8 million by the end of June.
In Africa and the Middle East, the firm reported net customer growth of 3.9 million during Q2. Revenue for the region was up 2.7 per cent year on year to €1.3 billion.
Profit is not broken down on a quarterly or divisional basis, but its combined net income for the first half of the year was €830 million. This was down from €3.32 billion in the first half of 2016, though its figure for last year included the €2.2 billion proceeds from the sale of its stake in UK operator EE to BT.
Hailing its performance, Orange Group CEO Stephane Richard said: “The strategy that we have been following for several quarters, which centred on giving customers an unbeatable experience through convergence around the home and a quality network, is now yielding results.”
It was not all good news for the company in Q2, however, as Orange took a €349 million hit on shares it acquired in BT as part of its deal to sell EE. The loss covers the decline in value of shares it retained and the negative impact from those disposed of in June.
During fiscal Q2, Orange also revealed its attempt to move into financial services in Europe with a banking service had hit a snag, which saw the July launch postponed. The company is expected to launch the service after the summer.