Orange chief says 'non' to more acquisitions

French telecoms operator Orange is to concentrate on building its infrastructure rather than spending on further acquisitions. Orange’s chief executive Stéphane Richard , speaking at an investors’ day in London, said that the company was eschewing the path taken by other providers and diversifying into broadcasting.

According to a Reuters report, the company is continuing to follow the strategic plan that was presented in July 2015 and would focus on upgrading broadband and mobile networks and offering bundled fixed and mobile offers in its three key markets - France, Spain and Poland. Richard said conditions were not yet right for any large pan-European M&A transaction that would involve Orange.

It would certainly not follow the likes of BT in its competition with Sky or Altice’s capture of high-profile football matches in France.  “We will not participate to the expected inflation of sports rights”, Richard said, referring to high prices for football rights in France.

“Regarding investments in content, we could see some partnerships between operators,” he added.

Sound finances

There’s been added pressure on Orange in France, since the arrival of Iliad’s low-cost mobile services in 2012. But Orange has recovered in the face of initial challenge and the marketing of fixed bundles in Spain has put the company on the road to recovery.

The company’s financials look sound but not spectacular: shares have risen by 1.1% this year, valuing the company at 38 billion euros (£33 billion).  

Under Richard’s leadership, Orange has expanded its telecoms activities overseas in Africa, Spain and decided to launch a new online banking service.