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Iliad reports 13% rise in quarterly like-for-like sales

France’s Iliad reported a 13% jump in first-quarter sales on Wednesday as the telecom group continued to strengthen its position in Italy.

The unlisted company saw its total number of subscribers rise by 615,000 in the three months to the end of March, with nearly a half of them from Italy.

The group entered the Italian fixed-line broadband market at the beginning of 2022 after shaking up the country’s mobile market with its low-cost offer in 2018.

Chief executive Thomas Reynaud reaffirmed the group’s interest in market consolidation in Italy during a call with journalists.

“We now have almost 10 million subscribers in barely five years and we want to continue to grow in Italy. And if that means an external growth operation of course we will be present,” Reynaud said.

Telecom firms are testing the waters for European market consolidation as they face costly investments to expand fibre networks and rollout 5G services.

Orange and Masmovil’s merger in Spain, agreed last July, is being investigated by EU antitrust regulators, while Vodafone said on Tuesday a long-awaited plan to merge its British business with CK Hutchison’s Three UK mobile network was “progressing”, though not yet done.

Asked if Iliad was taking part in any current discussions regarding a possible sale of Vodafone’s foreign business, Reynaud did not offer a definitive answer.

“It’s a debate that goes beyond Vodafone. It’s a much broader debate,” he said.

Iliad posted consolidated revenue of 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) for the first quarter, up from 1.9 billion euros a year earlier.

Its net profit plunged 88% to 59 million euros, mostly related to its domestic business.

“Last year, we had an outstanding divestiture,” finance chief Nicolas Jaeger said, referring to the sale of Iliad’s 30% stake in infrastructure joint venture On Tower France. Reuters

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