Orange reported strengthening growth rates in the third quarter, despite what the company termed “increasingly intense” competition in its main markets France and Spain. Revenues rose 1.0 percent to EUR 10.3 billion, and adjusted EBITDA was up 3.0 percent to EUR 3.7 billion. Orange said it was on track to achieve its full-year targets and grow further in 2019.
On a comparable basis, quarterly sales rose 0.6 percent and adjusted EBITDA was up 3.0 percent. Africa and the Middle East was the strongest, with comparable sales up 3.7 percent, followed by 1.6 percent growth in the rest of Europe, 0.9 percent in France and 0.5 percent in Spain. Enterprise revenues declined 2.2 percent.
Revenues from convergent offers, available in all its European markets, were up 9.5 percent year-on-year. Orange finished the quarter with 10.778 million customers for convergent offers, up 7.2 percent year on year on a comparable basis. Mobile customers rose 0.9 percent over the same period to 200.922 million, with a return to positive sales in the third quarter and 1.917 million new customers.
Orange also counted 19.866 million fixed broadband customers across the group, an increase of 3.6 percent year on year. Very high-speed fixed broadband grew 36 percent to 5.890 million customers. TV services had 9.374 million customers at 30 September, up 5.7 percent from a year ago.
Capex for the third quarter rose 10.9 percent to EUR 1.8 billion. Orange said the increased investment in networks was helping to sustain the growth in results. This included an acceleration in fibre deployment, to reach 30.8 million homes passed at the end of the quarter.
Orange reiterated its targets for higher adjusted EBITDA and operating cash flow on a comparable basis in 2018 and capex of EUR 7.4 billion. For 2019 and 2020, the company expects lower capex and further growth in EBITDA and OCF.
The company confirmed an increase in the annual dividend to EUR 0.70 per share, with an interim payment of EUR 0.30 in December. – Telecom Paper