UPDATE: France Telecom has no plans to sell its assets in Romania at this point, say company officials

Newsroom 04/05/2011 | 14:16

UPDATE: At this stage, the France Telecom group has no plans to sell its assets in Romania, Olivier Emberger, press officer of France Telecom told Business Review. 

The Group’s strategic review of its portfolio is nothing new and was clearly explained by Stéphane Richard, CEO of France Telecom-Orange during the presentation of the 2010 results last February.

He said that the Group will conduct a review of its portfolio of assets so that it can optimize operational performance and value creation in each country. The Group’s senior management has a responsibility to undertake such a review on a regular basis, but there is no clearly defined calendar, said the France Telecom official.

 Emberger also explained that “at one extreme, this review could lead to a sale as a last resort… but, at the other extreme, it could also also lead to consolidation projects (such as the joint venture in the UK, the proposed merger in Switzerland or the network sharing projects in Poland/Austria).”

“Nevertheless, at the present time, no decision has been taken to exit or to consolidate our position in any of the Group’s European countries and there is no such project under preparation,” said Emberger.

 Telecommunications giant France Telecom may decide to give up smaller operations in countries such as Romania, Austria and Belgium, to concentrate on markets with high growth potential such as Middle East and Africa,” said Gervais Pellissier, Chief Financial Officer of France Telecom, according to a piece of news by Bloomberg, which appeared earlier today.

France Telecom is reviewing its European portfolio, Pellissier had said. Aside from France, Poland and Spain, all the other countries are involved in this review, which will look at both opportunities for consolidation as well as possible sales of operations.

“Chief Executive Officer Stephane Richard is weighing the future of businesses in countries including Austria, Belgium, and Romania as growth in Africa and the Middle East roars ahead,” according to Bloomberg. Read the Bloomberg news here.

“Overall, the 2010 results in the European region demonstrate solid operational performance. France Telecom’s management remains confident that the Group will continue to strengthen its position in Europe over the coming years and will continue to support the investment in each country,” said Emberger for Business Review.

Orange Romania is the number one player on the Romanian telecom market, in both revenues and number of customers. However, the company has been posting decline in its revenues, due to fierce competition and the financial crunch, Romania being one of the few European markets that did not deliver growth in the France telecom group.

“In Europe, revenues rose 1.2 percent excluding the impact of regulatory measures. All countries in the region continue to grow, except for Romania, which reported a decline of 6.3 percent in the first quarter of 2011, and Switzerland, where revenues remained stable year on year,” according to the France Telecom report.

Orange posted revenues of EUR 222 million in Romania in the first quarter of this year, down 6.3 percent compared to the same period last year.

On March 31, Orange Romania had 10.3 million customers, down 5 percent compared to the similar period of last year.

Orange attained the 3.1 million clients figure in the broadband sector, and will continue to develop this as part of its strategy.

The average revenue per user (ARPU) was EUR 82.7.

Read more on Orange’s financial results here.

 Otilia Haraga

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