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'Orange can double emerging market revenues in 3 years - CEO'
[June 17, 2010]

'Orange can double emerging market revenues in 3 years - CEO'

Jun 17, 2010 (DMEUROPE via COMTEX) -- France Telecom-Orange has the means to double its revenues in emerging markets in three years, said group CEO Stephane Richard at a Les Echos-organised conference in Paris, thereby shaving two years off his previously announced target. He anticipates EUR 1.5 billion of organic growth, with another EUR 2 billion to be found either by buying licences as it did in Tunisia or by purchasing asset portfolios.

Richard stated that the group's main emerging region was Africa, and that Westerners have yet to realise that the continent's per capita GDP will be higher than India's this year. There are real growth prospects in Africa in the next decade. Although it does not see it as a priority, France Telecom-Orange could move into Algeria, where its partner in Egypt, Orascom, has run into difficulties with the government. Richard does not rule out working with Orascom in the North African state 'in agreement with the authorities'. The CEO was cautious about expanding the operator's footprint in Europe. Although consolidation is possible on a country-by-country basis, national regulators demand that any mergers be in consumers' interests, as witnessed by the aborted merger with Sunrise in Switzerland. Addressing Orange's performance in France, Richard said that its 14 percent share of ADSL additions in the first quarter pales in comparison to the nearly 50 percent achieved in the year-earlier period. This is not sustainable and although the operator cannot undercut rival broadband services by more than 10 percent, it could offer more for the same price. Like SFR CEO Frank Esser, Richard criticised the competition authority's recent recommendation that existing MNOs open their 3G networks to new entrant Free Mobile. Asked about the contents strategy for pay TV channels Orange Cinema Series and Orange Sports, he said 'We are not in the business of financing French football' but we are interested in mobile phone rights for the League 1 championship.

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