More Africa NewsOrange growth improves in Q4, maintains outlook for stable 2020

February 14, 2020by myles

Orange reported improved growth figures for the fourth quarter. Group revenues grew 1.1 percent on a comparable basis to EUR 11.1 billion, compared to 0.8 percent in the previous quarter, thanks strong momentum in Africa and the Middle East and an improved performance in France. EBITDAaL was up 1.3 percent on the same basis to EUR 3.3 billion, accelerating from an increase of 0.2 percent in the previous quarter. Orange maintained its outlook for a “flat positive” EBITDA this year and improved its forecast for cash flow.

Over the full year 2019, Orange grew revenues 2.1 percent to EUR 42.2 billion. The 0.6 percent increase on a comparable basis, restated for the impact of digital content offers, was due to strong growth in Africa and the Middle East and good performances by Enterprise and Europe, which together offset the lower sales in France and Spain due to tough competition. EBITDAaL was up 0.8 percent on an organic basis in 2019 to EUR 12.9 billion, in line with the company’s forecast for a slowdown in growth compared to 2018.

Net profit over the full year jumped 49.4 percent to EUR 3.2 billion. Capex increased 0.6 percent to EUR 7.3 billion, while operating cash flow (EBITDA – capex) rose 1 percent to EUR 5.6 billion. Orange maintained its dividend at EUR 0.70 per share and said it aims to pay the same for 2020.

Orange attributed the growth in 2019 to its convergent strategy, claiming to be the leading convergent operator in Europe. It finished the year with 10.8 million convergent customers, up 3.4 percent from a year ago, and the convergent offers contributed EUR 7.1 billion in revenue, up 3.9 percent. That compares to a 2.9 percent fall in revenues from fixed services and 0.9 percent growth in mobile-only services.

The mobile base ended the year at 207.2 million, an increase of 3.0 percent, driven by Africa and the Middle East. Fixed broadband customers totaled 20.7 million, up 2.7 percent, reflecting the acceleration of FTTH network deployment, notably in France. The company also reached nearly 24 million 4G customers (+43%) and 18.2 million active Orange Money customers (+20%).

For 2020, Orange largely maintained the outlook issued at its strategy update in December. EBITDAaL is expected “flat positive” this year, and capex will increase by around EUR 200 million due to the network sharing plans in Belgium and Spain. The company improved its target for organic cash flow from telecom activities to over EUR 2.3 billion this year and confirmed a target of EUR 1 billion in cost savings by 2023.


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