* Q1 group revenues up 0.8 pct on comparable basis
* Core operating profit rises 2 percent
(Adds share price, background)
PARIS, April 27 Telecom operator Orange's
first-quarter revenues were close to unchanged in its
biggest market, France, where heavy promotions have hit its
sales and margins since the arrival of low-cost Iliad's
Free Mobile services in 2012.
The group, whose profit growth lately has relied on
expanding its business in Spain and Poland, is aiming to lift
its margins and attract more clients in France by being the
so-called 'best-in-class' in high-speed broadband services, and
by adding TV content through partnerships.
Vivendi's pay-TV Canal Plus would be the preferred
partner to build up such commercial partnerships, top executives
at Orange and Vivendi have said, but they have not yet
"As long as these talks have not concluded, what's important
is ... a distribution and (content) aggregation policy, which
allows us to offer our clients all the content they need," Chief
Financial Officer Ramon Fernandez told reporters on a call.
The telecoms operator said in March it had signed a new
multi-year contract with U.S. broadcaster HBO, the owner of
hit-show "Game of Thrones", allowing Orange to become HBO's sole
distributor in France.
Orange's first-quarter group revenue rose by 0.8 percent on
a comparable basis to 10.1 billion euros, while revenues dipped
0.1 percent over the period in France to 4.43 billion euros.
This compares with a Reuters poll average of 10.16 billion
euros for first-quarter revenues and 2.6 billion for EBITDA over
Orange shares were up by 0.61 percent in early Paris
trading, valuing the company at 39.3 billion euros.
The operator's revenues in France have not increased since
the second quarter of 2009, according to company filings.
The group's core operating profit rose by 2 percent to 2.598
billion euros ($2.83 billion).
The former monopoly confirmed all its 2017 targets,
including one for a higher core operating profit compared with
($1 = 0.9171 euros)
(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by
Sudip Kar-Gupta and Adrian Croft)