Solid growth in third quarter 2017 revenue and adjusted EBITDA. Record mobile sales in France.
- Revenues grew 0.9% on a comparable basis to 10.274 billion euros in the third quarter of 2017, in line with the first half (+1.1%). The impact of new regulations in Europe, with the end of roaming charges for customers travelling in Europe, was largely offset by increased interconnection revenue with operators in other European countries (visitor roaming) resulting from increased usage by their customers on Orange networks across Europe.
France posted growth for the second consecutive quarter and the Europe segment continued to record sustained growth, driven by Spain and Central European countries. Revenue in the Africa & Middle East segment confirmed a return to solid growth, while revenue in the Enterprise segment fell 0.5% on a comparable basis. In the first nine months of 2017, revenues were 30.550 billion euros, up 1.0% (+317 million euros) on a comparable basis.
- The Group’s adjusted EBITDA grew 2.1% in the third quarter of 2017 on a comparable basis, in line with the first half (+2.2%). This was despite the impact of the first full quarter since new European regulations ended roaming charges and increased interconnection costs with operators in other countries. In the first nine months of 2017, the Group’s adjusted EBITDA was 9.599 billion euros, an increase of 2.2% (+203 million euros) on a comparable basis.
Adjusted EBITDA from telecom activities rose 2.3% in the third quarter 2017 on a comparable basis, and was +4.7% excluding the negative impact of roaming regulation (-83 million euros). The adjusted EBITDA margin from telecom activities was 35.4%, an improvement of 0.5 percentage points compared with the third quarter of 2016.
- Commercial momentum remained strong. Orange France posted its best third quarter results since 2008, with 320,000 net additions in mobile contract customers1. Among these, premium offers proved popular with customers. Net additions of mobile contract customers1 in France2 and in the Europe segment totalled 494,000 (including +320,000 for Orange France), with the customer base up 3.2% at 30 September 2017. Orange had 33.0 million users of 4G in France and in the Europe segment at 30 September 2017, up 29% year on year.
The rapid expansion of fibre take-up continued in France and the Europe segment with 321,000 net additions in the third quarter. The fibre customer base reached 4.2 million at 30 September 2017, up 47% year on year.
Growth in convergent offers to consumers remained strong in France and Europe, with 10.1 million customers at 30 September 2017 (+11.6% year on year).
In Africa & Middle East, the mobile customer base rose 5.2% year on year, with 6.2 million net additions on a comparable basis.
- The Group’s capital expenditure (capex) for the first nine months of the year was 4.873 billion euros, in line with the 2017 forecast of 7.2 billion euros. Capex increased by 2.8% compared to the first nine months of 2016 on a comparable basis. Capex from telecom activities (4.836 billion euros) rose 2.0% and the ratio of capex from telecom activities to revenues was 15.8%. Investments in fibre and in very high-speed mobile (4G and 4G+) rose 14.2% compared with the first nine months of 2016.
For the full year 2017, Orange confirms that it expects adjusted EBITDA to be higher than that achieved in 2016 on a comparable basis, buoyed by strong commercial momentum, supported by investment, and continued effort on the transformation of the cost structure.
The Group also confirms its target to maintain a ratio of net debt to adjusted telecom EBITDA of around 2x in the medium term in order to preserve Orange’s financial strength and investment capacity. The Group will maintain its policy of selective, value-creating acquisitions, concentrating on markets in which it is already present.
As announced at the presentation of the 2016 full year results, the Board of Directors will propose to the Annual General Meeting of shareholders in 2018 the payment of a dividend of 0.65 euros per share for 2017. An interim dividend for 2017 of 0.25 euros per share will be paid on 7 December 20173.
On the publication of the results for the first nine months of 2017, Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of the Orange Group, commented:
“This quarter demonstrates very good momentum at Orange, supported more than ever by investment in customer experience and our networks. We attracted nearly half a million mobile contract customers and 321,000 fibre customers in France and the Europe segment in the past three months. Despite new roaming regulation in Europe, we delivered revenue growth for the ninth consecutive quarter and adjusted EBITDA growth of 2.1%. Excluding regulatory changes, adjusted EBITDA rose 4.4%.
Orange France also confirmed its return to growth and had a particularly strong third quarter in mobile, with 320,000 net additions – its best performance since 2008. It was the same story in fibre, where 40% growth enabled us to reach more than 1.8 million customers. The continuing excellent performance in Spain and Romania, along with the return to growth in Africa & the Middle East, completed a positive picture for Orange as a whole this quarter.
Finally, I am delighted that we will launch Orange Bank next week. I can’t wait for customers to benefit from this new and unique offer.
These results have led us to confirm our outlook for 2017. We will provide more detail of our ambitious strategy to create value in the years ahead at an Investor Day on 7 December.”
The Board of Directors of Orange SA met on 25 October 2017 and examined the Group’s results to 30 September 2017.
The financial data and comparable basis data in this press release are unaudited.
More detailed information is available on the Orange website: www.orange.com
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Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 40,9 billion euros in 2016 and 152,000 employees worldwide at 30 September 2017, including 93,000 employees in France. Present in 29 countries, the Group has a total customer base of 269 million customers worldwide at 30 September 2017, including 208 million mobile customers and 19 million fixed broadband customers. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services. In March 2015, the Group presented its new strategic plan “Essentials2020” which places customer experience at the heart of its strategy with the aim of allowing them to benefit fully from the digital universe and the power of its new generation networks.
Orange is listed on Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN).
Orange and any other Orange product or service names included in this material are trademarks of Orange or Orange Brand Services Limited.