Orange aims for 5% annual revenue growth in Africa and the Middle East

Orange CFO Ramon Fernandez said the company is targeting annual revenue growth of around 5 per cent in Africa and the Middle East by 2018 and is looking for further opportunities to expand in the region.

Fernandez told Reuters that the company also has ambitious goals for its operating profit, aiming to grow it "even more" than sales.

Orange has repeatedly emphasised that it sees Africa and the Middle East as key to its future growth, and recently outlined plans to expand further in North Africa. The company has around 100 million subscribers in the region, which accounts for around 10 per cent of group revenue.

TMT Finance also reported this week that the company is in talks with Indian operator Bharti Airtel over potentially buying some of its activities in Africa, but Fernandez declined to comment on the report, Reuters said.

Orange has already placed its 20 units in the region under one holding company, replacing the multiple holding companies that previously existed and thereby creating a simpler and clearer management structure.

Fernandez told Reuters that this structure could allow Orange to eventually float the unit or bring in other investors.

Speaking to FierceWireless:Europe last year, Marc Rennard, EVP for Africa, the Middle East and Asia, had refuted speculation that Orange was planning to list the new holding company, saying that the move is merely an internal company process and that the MEA businesses will still be "all Orange".

Meanwhile, as part of the new Essentials2020 five-year plan unveiled by Orange in March, the company intends to launch a further five LTE networks in Africa this year, and plans to launch 4G in the majority of its markets in Africa and the Middle East by 2018.

As things stand, Orange has deployed commercial LTE networks in Mauritius and Botswana.

Orange also noted that there is still much work to be done in terms of expanding its 2G/3G services in rural areas where it can find substantial revenue growth.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this TMT Finance article (sub. req.)

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