Posts filed under ‘Vivendi’
French communications and entertainment group Vivendi reported a 23.7% year-on-year rise in consolidated revenues (22.1% at constant currency) to EUR6.5 billion (USD8.83 billion), as a result of strong performance from the likes of telecoms arm SFR and expected synergies delivered following recent acquisitions. Group EBITDA reached EUR1.4 billion, an increase of 15.8% (13.8% at constant currency) compared to the first quarter of 2008. Vivendi said adjusted net income was EUR649 million, down EUR48 million compared to the first quarter of 2008, mainly due to the increasing interest and share of earnings attributable to minority interests. Nonetheless, the company confirmed its 2009 outlook for strong growth of EBITA.
SFR’s revenues increased to EUR3.028 billion in the three months ended 31 March 2009, up by 31.5% compared to the same period in 2008, due to the consolidation of neuf Cegetel since 15 April 2008. On a comparable basis, SFR’s revenues decreased by 0.8% y-o-y, although excluding the impact of the decrease in switched voice revenues and equipment sales, SFR revenues increased by 1.4%, it said. Mobile turnover generated EUR2.181 billion in sales which Vivendi said was ‘stable’ due to a EUR22 million decrease in equipment sales to EUR77 million. Mobile service revenues, however, rose 1.2% year-on-year to EUR2.104 billion, driven by growth of the customer base and a sharp (36%) rise in data revenues following the launch of unlimited SMS and MMS offers, and strong development of mobile internet services in the mass market and enterprise segments. SFR added 118,000 net new mobile customers in January-March, equivalent to 51% of net additions in the period. Furthermore, SFR reported an improvement in its customer mix (+3.5 percentage points year-on-year to 69.6%), adding 178,000 new post-paid customers in the period to achieve 13.76 million contract customers at the end of March 2009. SFR launched the iPhone on 8 April, and says it has already sold 120,000 handsets.
SFR (including neuf Cegetel) reported broadband internet and fixed revenues of EUR934 million in 1Q09, down 2.7% compared to the same period in 2008 on a comparable basis. Broadband internet and fixed revenues increased by 2.3%, excluding the impact of the decrease in switched voice revenues. Aided by the launch of the ‘neufbox by SFR’, SFR added 163,000 net new broadband internet active customers in the period (or >30% of all quarterly net additions). At the end of March 2009 SFR’s broadband subscriber base totalled 4.042 million, up 9.3% compared to the same period in 2008. In addition, SFR had 164,000 Enterprise data links connected to the SFR network, 10.1% higher than a year earlier. SFR’s broadband internet and fixed EBITDA, including neuf Cegetel’s operations since 15 April 2008, decreased by EUR19 million on a comparable basis to EUR133 million.
Maroc Telecom, the leading telecoms group in Morocco, on Monday posted a 7.2 percent rise in annual sales, driven mainly by mobile operations.
In the fourth quarter alone, consolidated revenues rose 3.9 percent to 7.484 billion Moroccan dirhams ($889.6 million) and reached 29.521 billion dirhams over the 12 months to Dec. 31.
Maroc Telecom is controlled by Vivendi, Europe’s largest entertainment group, through a 54 percent holding.
For the year just passed, it said it expected to report growth in earnings from operations of above 13 percent. “In a more difficult context, Maroc Telecom achieved in 2008 noticeable revenues and continues to improve significantly its profitability, “Maroc Telecom Chairman Abdeslam Ahizoune said in a statement.
In a move that France Telecom itself has called a “serious blow,” France’s Competition Council has temporarily suspended the agreement the firm has with Apple that lets its French operator Orange sell the iPhone 3G exclusively. The competition watchdog said the ban, which takes effect on Thursday, is aimed at letting consumers buy the gadget on contract from competing operators SFR and Bouygues Telecom, right in time for the holiday sales season. France Telecom said it would appeal the decision.
So, how angry are France Telecom execs with this decision? In a statement issued today, the global telecoms group had nothing but sharp criticism for the Competition Council whom it accused of making a decision without “in-depth examination,” that would not only “undermine Orange’s efforts to develop high-speed mobile services in France,” but would have a “major impact” on the market, with possible “serious consequences on manufacturers, as well as their subcontractors and software suppliers.” The best, however, was reserved for the number three operator Bouygues Telecom, which initiated the complaint in mid-September.
France Telecom basically accused its smaller rival, which it noted was “most behind” in rolling out its 3G network,” of crying to the Competition Council, rather than “offering genuine competition based on innovative offers.” It also noted that Orange has had the iPhone exclusive deal for a year now, but that it took Bouygues Telecom until now, just before the lucrative holiday sales season to request these “urgent conservative measures.”
The Council said in a statement that France Telecom’s five-year deal with Apple, which locks subscribers into a 12-24 month contract with Orange, adds another obstacle for consumers in a market already suffering from a lack of competition. Any future exclusivity deals would also be limited to three months at a time. As for an appeal, it’s going to take a long time for France Telecom to get the decision reversed, if at all. An “in-depth examination of the agreement” would likely take 12-15 months to complete, a Council spokesperson told Reuters.
Bouygues Telecom said in a statement it hoped to start selling the iPhone as soon as possible, while France’s second largest operator the Vivendi-Vodafone owned SFR, said it has “always been interested” in selling the iPhone, “but not at any price.”
L’iPhone, as its known in France, has been good to France Telecom, which said it has sold 450,000 of the 3G gadgets to date. As for other operators around the world, the iPhone has helped lure subscribers and boost data usage. The council estimated that Orange raked in 220 million euros ($308.2 million) from iPhone 3G sales from its July 18 launch to November 5. As for Apple, the ruling probably won’t be as much of a blow, especially as it has already dropped its exclusivity strategy in favor of selling through multiple operators in other European countries.