France Telecom chief Stephane Richard claims the firm hit all its 2011 financial targets, despite net income falling by almost €1 billion year-on-year.
The telco’s post-tax net of €3.8 billion in 2011 is well down on the €4.8 billion generated in 2010, despite revenue remaining broadly unchanged at €45.2 billion. Richard concedes the financial environment was more challenging than expected, but applauded improvements in the firm’s position in France and Spain in particular, along with a lift from the bulk of its operations in Middle East and Africa.
“We are conscious that the macro-economic and competitive context in 2012 remains uncertain, and are therefore further strengthening the rigorous financial and operational management approach taken in 2011,” Richard explains, noting the telco will adapt its shareholder remuneration policy “to ensure the financial strength of the group.”
The firm will now align shareholder payback with its operating cash flow, which it predicts will allow it to pump between 40% and 45% of operating cash flow into shareholder dividends over the next two years. It is targeting cash flow of €8 billion for 2012.
Richard says the firm has returned to “fighting form,” and will leverage its networks, innovation and customer service teams to achieve the goals in his Conquests 2015 plan, which aims to double income from emerging markets by 2015.