Orange saw Q3 revenue decline by 2.3 per cent to €9.8 billion, an improvement on recent quarters. Meanwhile chief financial and strategy officer Ramon Fernandez said the operator remains “very attentive” to possible M&A in its domestic market.
Revenue decline slowed compared with Q2 (3.4 per cent) and Q1 (3.8 per cent), thanks primarily to better performance in France, Belgium, Africa and the Middle East, as well as the Enterprise segment.
In France, the decline in mobile services slowed to 6.1 per cent in the third quarter compared with 2013, having fallen 8.9 per cent in the first half.
Fernandez (pictured), who is also the operator’s deputy CEO, said: “We are still of the view of the benefits for all if we have some consolidation in France.”
However, Orange is not the one who needs deal-making most, he added: “We are not the ones who are suffering the most from the absence of consolidation.”
Nevertheless, the operator is keeping an eye on any developments: “We will be very attentive to possible interests from various actors”.
Orange was reported to be in talks about buying smaller rival Bouygues Telecom earlier this year.
Africa and Middle East — the poster child for Orange’s turnaround story — saw a 6.4 per cent revenue growth compared with 2013 —after rising 7.6 per cent in the first half — thanks in particular to Egypt, Guninea, Mali and Cote d’Ivoire.
A recent report said Orange is considering an IPO for its Africa and Middle East assets but Fernandez played down the possibility, at least for the moment.
The company is planning to put its emerging market assets into a dedicated holding company, he said: “But that does not prejudge future steps. One can imagine building on partnerships, or imagine an IPO at a later stage but it’s not the point now.”
Restated EBITDA was €3.25 billion, a decline of 2.3 per cent from the same quarter in 2013. The company also restated its outlook for 2014 of achieving EBITDA in the range of €12 billion to €12.5 billion for the full year.