Orange, France’s largest telecommunications company, said higher growth in its operations in Africa and the Middle East offset lower revenue in its domestic and Spanish markets in the first quarter.
CEO Christel Heydemann, who succeeded Stephane Richard on April 4, is taking over the former monopoly company at a time when it is struggling to raise revenue amid pressure to upgrade networks and stay competitive in Europe’s fragmented telecommunications market.
Spain, Orange’s second largest market in Europe after France, will be a top priority as low sales and revenue performance there affected the group last year.
Orange recorded a 4.6% drop in sales in Spain in the first quarter, as the group entered into exclusive merger discussions with MasMovil, its competitor in the country.
Revenues in Africa and the Middle East rose 8.7% in the first quarter, which helped the group record a total increase of 0.7%.
Orange’s core operating profit rose 1% to 2.62 billion euros, according to analysts’ estimates.
Orange maintained its target for 2022, including an increase in core operating profits of 2.5% -3%.