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Telecoms group Iliad sales rise as investments in 4G and 5G pay off

French telecoms group Iliad on Thursday reported a 10% jump in annual sales, boosted by investments in 4G and 5G and expansion in Poland.

Telecom firms across Europe have been making early forays in what could be a new wave of sector consolidation, with operators facing costly investments to expand fibre networks and roll out 5G services.

Iliad, which operates in France, Italy and Poland, posted revenue of 8.4 billion euros ($8.9 billion) for 2022, compared with 7.6 billion a year earlier.

“We are the telecom operator with the highest organic growth in Europe,” CEO Thomas Reynaud said in a conference call. He added Iliad’s “massive investments” in 4G and 5G and the expansion beyond its historical borders were paying off.

In Poland, where it last year bought broadband operator UPC from Liberty Global (LBTYA.O), Iliad gained 687,000 new subscribers.

“The completion of the deal between Play and UPC that will lead to the creation of a FiberCo, expected in early 2023, will allow us to accelerate the expansion of this market,” it said.

Iliad added 862,000 subscribers in its home market France. In Italy, it finished the year as the market’s leading recruiter with 1.06 million new mobile subscribers.

The company, which billionaire Xavier Niel took private two years ago, has been making deals to extend its fibre offer in Italy to tap into the demand for ultra-fast connections. In January, it finalised a joint venture deal with Italy’s Windtre to manage their networks in less densely populated areas.

Its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation after leases rose 12% to 3.3 billion euros in 2022.

Iliad did not give a detailed outlook but said it was confident about 2023 following last year’s good momentum and despite the uncertain economic environment. Reuters

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