Sustained commercial momentum in major markets, continued reduction of costs and an acceleration in very high-speed broadband investment
The Group confirms the objective it has set for 2013 of operating cash flow (restated EBITDA less CAPEX) of at least 7 billion euros.
The ratio of net debt/EBITDA should reach approximately 2.2 at the end of 2013, excluding the impact of the tax dispute (2) , and then return to a level closer to 2 at the end of 2014, thus maintaining the Group’s financial solidity under all circumstances. Including the impact of the tax dispute, the ratio of net debt/EBITDA should reach approximately 2.4 at the end of 2013.
The Group confirms that a dividend of a minimum of 0.80 euros per share will be paid in respect of the financial year 2013 (3). The Board of Directors decided on 24 July 2013 to pay an interim ordinary dividend of 0.30 euros per share for the current year, based on the results of the first half of 2013. The interim dividend will be paid on 11 December (4).
In addition, the Group will follow a policy of prudent and selective acquisitions, concentrating on possible consolidation and disposals in the markets in which it operates.
Commenting on the results for the first nine months of 2013, Orange Chairman and CEO Stéphane Richard said:
“I would point to three key elements from these quarterly results. First, our ability to expand our customer base in the Group’s three core countries (France, Poland and Spain), while managing the overall decline in prices. In France, we recorded our best net sales figures for three years, adding around 300,000 new customers, mainly on high-end tariffs such as Origami and Open. The Africa and Middle East region posted sales growth of more than 4%. Secondly, the continued reduction in our cost base: we have already achieved our annual target of 600 million euros in savings, a third of which is down to lower indirect costs. Finally, I would like to highlight our investment initiatives, especially in 4G and fibre, which place Orange in an ideal position in these crucial growth sectors. Overall, these results, which are the fruit of the efforts of all of the Group's employees, give us confidence that we will achieve our 2013 objectives and reinforce our ambitions for 2014.”
(1) Excluding machine-to-machine contracts.
(2) Payment of 2.138 billion euros in the third quarter of 2013, related to the consequences of the tax dispute from 2005, for which Orange submitted an application for judicial review.
(3) Subject to the approval of the Annual General Meeting of shareholders.
(4) The ex-dividend date is 6 December 2013; the record date is 10 December 2013.
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Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 43.5 billion euros in 2012 and has 166,000 employees worldwide at 30 September 2013, including 102,000 employees in France. Present in 32 countries, the Group has a total customer base of more than 232 million customers at 30 September 2013, including 175 million mobile customers and 15 million fixed broadband customers worldwide. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services.
Orange is listed on the NYSE Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN).
For more information: www.orange.com, www.orange-business.com and on Twitter: @orange, @presseorange, @orangebusiness.
Orange and any other Orange product or service names included in this material are trade marks of Orange Brand Services Limited.