France Telecom has reported that its first half revenues fell by 0.5% in the first half of 2009 on a comparable basis to EUR 25.5 billion (US$36 billion), against the backdrop of a 2.9% decline in GDP across the Group's footprint.
Net profit fell to EUR2.6 billion (US$3.67 billion) from EUR 2.68 billion a year ago. On comparable basis, net profit actually rose from EUR 2.52 billion a year ago. CAPEX was 2.528 billion euros in the first half of 2009 (9.9% of revenues), compared with 3.069 billion euros in the first half of 2008 (12% of revenues) on a comparable basis.
Commenting on the first half results, France Telecom Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Didier Lombard stated: "In an economic environment that deteriorated more than expected over the course of the first half of 2009, the level of revenues reflects the strong resilience of our business compared to GDP and our ability to maintain our competitive position. The first results of the cost saving and transformation plans of Orange 2012 helped mitigate the impact of the economic slowdown, which was more or less pronounced depending on the country. "
Operations in France grew 1.5% with activity particularly buoyant in mobile services which rose 6.4% compared with the first half of 2008. At the same time, revenues from operations in Africa and the Middle East increased 5.8%, driven chiefly by Egypt (+11.1%) and new operations in Africa (+27.8%).
These favourable trends largely offset the downturn in operations in Romania (-15.4%), impacted by the deterioration in the economic environment, in Poland (-6.1%), Spain (-4.8%) and the United Kingdom (-2.6%), partly due to rate cuts for call terminations and roaming.
The Group had 186 million customers (excluding MVNOs) at 30 June 2009. The first half of 2009 was very buoyant, with 3.7 million customers added, particularly during the second quarter when 2.6 million new customers were added. The second quarter of 2009 benefited from new prepaid offers recently marketed in Europe while contract customer numbers continued to grow steadily. In all, contract customer numbers rose 7.9% year on year, while prepaid rose 10.8%.