June 11, 2017 / 1:16 PM / 9 months ago

Orange boss says French consolidation still unlikely - paper

PARIS, June 11 (Reuters) - The French telecoms industry is unlikely to see a tie-up among the country’s four mobile operators in the foreseeable future, Orange Chairman and Chief Executive Stephane Richard said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday.

The arrival in 2012 of Iliad’s low-cost operator Free unleashed a price war and accompanying pressure for consolidation to cut the number of competing operators to three.

But sour relations that have thwarted successive merger attempts among the arch-rivals still pose a major obstacle, the head of market leader Orange told the Journal du Dimanche.

“The conditions aren’t met,” Richard said. “There’s too much mistrust among the players, particularly Bouygues and Free.”

Richard failed last year to pull off a merger with Bouygues Telecom, following a failed bid by Numericable-SFR parent Altice in 2015, which foundered over government objections. (Reporting by Laurence Frost; editing by David Clarke)

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