June 14, 2020 / 9:00 PM / 23 days ago

Orange eyes Nigeria, South Africa as possible new markets

FILE PHOTO: The logo of French telecoms operator Orange is pictured on a closed retail store in Paris, France, April 17, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Orange (ORAN.PA), France’s largest telecom operator, believes it would benefit from having a wider footprint in Africa and will give itself a few months to make a possible move, Chief Executive Stephane Richard told Les Echos business newspaper.

“It could make sense to be in economies such as Nigeria and South Africa,” Richard was quoted as saying. “If one considers there are things to do, the time frame I am considering is rather a few months than a few years.”

Richard declined to comment on a possible interest in South Africa’s MTN Group Ltd (MTNJ.J).

The Middle East and Africa, where Orange has a presence in 18 countries, is the company’s fastest-growing market.

The region makes a large chunk of its revenues from payment transfers - a key part of the group’s diversification into financial services.

Orange said earlier this year it was bringing its operations in the Middle East and Africa into a single entity, paving the way for a potential listing of the operations that could raise cash to invest in overseas expansion.

Richard said Orange would also be looking at bolstering partnerships with health companies or institutions.

Reporting by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Peter Cooney

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