France Telecom brought the curtain down on a traumatic 2009 this morning, when it revealed revenues fell 1.8% year-on-year despite overall growth in its subscriber base.
The telco blamed tough global market conditions for the decline in revenues, which were down from €46.8 billion in 2008 to €45.9 billion in 2009. As a result, net income was down from €5.1 billion in 2008, to €4.8 billion in 2009.
Trading in Eastern Europe – in particular Romania – was particularly tough, the firm says, however things began to pick up in Western Europe, and Africa and Middle East during Q4.
That growth allowed France Telecom to begin increasing its CAPEX investments during the quarter, though reductions in spend through the first nine months of 2009 resulted in the telco spending €5.3 billion in total during the year, compared to €6.3 billion in 2008.
Despite the decline in revenues and net income, France Telecom grew its subscriber base 5.7% year-on-year to 192.7 million customers in 2009.
The results come after a tough year for France Telecom, when a spate of suicides at the firm’s headquarters resulted in the virtual ousting of current CEO Didier Lombard.
CEO-in waiting Stéphane Richard, credits Lombard with turning the company from a monopolistic incumbent, into a multi-national telecoms player, but says now is the time for the next step in the firm’s evolution.
“We are working to recenter the business to provide a renewed outlook for the Group as a whole. This new project, which will be announced before the summer, aims to reposition both customers and employees firmly at the heart of the executive management’s priorities.”
Richard has also previously stated that he would work to re-build France Telecom’s European presence.