France Telecom posts revenue growth

France Telecom reported growth in first quarter revenue and profit margins and said it is ready to seek acquisitions to enhance its presence in both emerging markets and Western Europe, an Associated Press report said.

'All the necessary conditions are in place for the group to take part in the consolidation of the European sector,' CEO Didier Lombard was quoted as saying.

France's dominant telecommunications operator said last month it was considering possible Nordic acquisitions including Swedish company TeliaSonera and Norway's Telenor.

The report also quoted France Telecom CFO Gervais Pellissier as saying that France Telecom is still interested, but has not opened talks with TeliaSonera.

France Telecom said when it looks at possible acquisitions, it is seeking synergies, stronger positions in new products and services, increased activity in emerging countries, and compatibility with business models and strategic priorities.

The company also said first quarter revenue increased 1.4% to €13 billion (US$20 billion) from €12.8 billion a year earlier, with growth in all business segments.

The company does not break out net profit on a quarterly basis. But it said gross operating margin grew 2.8 % to €4.79 billion (US$7.4 billion) from €4.65 billion a year earlier. Analysts say operating margin is a measure of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

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