FT profits soar nearly €2b

France Telecom has declared it is on track to meet the targets of a five-year plan, after growing profits nearly €2 billion during 2010.
The French incumbent grew profits from €3.01 billion in 2009 to €4.8 billion despite generating only a marginal 1.5% increase in revenues to €45 billion year-on-year, as a decline in sales from the telco’s Business division took its toll.
What revenue growth there was came during the second half of the year, with mobile services leading the charge after growing revenues 1.2% during 2010. The firm is also optimistic about the future of its fixed-line broadband business after fresh subscriber growth in France, Poland and Spain.
Fixed broadband subscriptions grew by 455,000 to 13.7 million in total and IPTV customers by 902,000 to 4.1 million. Mobile subscriber numbers grew 9.1% to 150.4 million by end-December, fuelled mostly by gains in African markets.
While the results set France Telecom on the right path to achieving organic cash flow of €8 billion in 2011, chief Stephane Richard states they mean more than just financial success. “We have restored both energy and ambition to our commercial offering while also meeting all our financial objectives.”
Launches in Tunisia and Morocco strengthened the firm’s international credentials and kept the firm on track to achieve a goal of doubling revenues from emerging markets by 2015, Richard added.
The CEO has been rewarded for his efforts to-date by being appointed chairman of the telco – a post he will assume on March 1 while maintaining his chief executive role.
Richard takes over from Didier Lombard, who he succeeded as CEO a year earlier than planned in February 2010 to address a series of social issues that were blighting the firm, including a high number of staff suicides.
The new chairman placed workers at the heart of his Conquests 2015 five year plan, unveiled in July.