July 31, 2018 / 4:11 PM / 19 days ago

Iliad shares plummet on concerns about loss of mobile customers

PARIS, July 31 (Reuters) - The shares of French telecoms operator Iliad plummeted on Tuesday on concerns it might be losing customers to market leader Orange.

Iliad shares closed down 7.7 percent at 135.50 euros. The stock has fallen by 32 percent since the start of 2018.

A source close to the matter said investors were worried about Iliad’s market position in France, describing the company as “suffering” in that sector, while earlier Bloomberg News had reported that a record number of mobile clients had defected in the second-quarter in favour of Orange.

“On the French market, Iliad is suffering, it is suffering like never before,” said the source.

“The recruitment of new mobile customers has become much more difficult for Iliad,” added the source, pointing out that the number of mobile clients who left Iliad to sign up at Orange had reached a record in the last quarter.

Iliad declined to comment. The group will report first-half earnings on Sept. 4.

Investors have penalized Iliad, founded by telecoms maverick and billionaire entrepreneur Xavier Niel, after the group reported a loss in the number of broadband subscribers in the first quarter, for the first time ever. (Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta/Dominique Rodriguez)

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