FT income falls in tough 1Q

France Telecom will meet its full year financial targets following a strong 1Q when it steered through a tough market to maintain profitability, chief Stephane Richards says.
EBITDA fell 5.1% to €3.7 billion during the quarter as the firm was hit by higher tax rates and tougher competition in its domestic market, and political unrest in Egypt, one of its key emerging markets. Stable revenues of €11.2 billion masked rises in mobile sales in France, Spain and Poland, and a strong performance in fixed broadband via a new quad-play offer.
“These solid first-quarter results are in line with our financial objectives for the whole of 2011,” Richard noted, pointing to Spain as one of the bright lights of the period that helped the telco steer through “difficult conditions in Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire and Tunisia.”
Sales in Spain grew 4% overall – the only market to register year-on-year growth.
The mobile business added 13.9 million subscribers during the quarter, taking its total count to 156.7 million. The figure highlights the importance of Africa and Middle East markets, which accounted for just over 40% of total subscribers by end-March. Group fixed broadband subscribers grew 605,000 to 13.9 million, and digital IPTV users 967,000 to 4.4 million.