Orange group revenues were up 0.5% in Q1 2021 thanks to the recovery of equipment sales and an excellent performance in fixed broadband and IT and Integration services.
Growth was primarily driven by Africa and Middle East, which posted its best first quarterly performance in 10 years (up 7.1%), and by Other European countries (up 2.2%). The Enterprise segment returned to modest growth (+0.4%), while France was resilient (-0.2%) and Spain remained markedly negative (-7.4%).
Group EBITDAaL edged down very slightly (-0.3%) in a quarter impacted by the health crisis throughout, which was not the case in Q1 2020.
Q1 eCAPEX was in line with the Group’s targets for 2021. This increased by 12.4% versus Q1 2020, mainly due to network investments and fewer asset disposals.
Orange again delivered a very robust commercial performance, setting a new record for first-quarter FTTH net adds. IT & Integration services posted strong growth, including 16% year-on-year revenue growth at Orange Cyberdefense. 5G packages are now available in five countries. In France, Orange now covers 239 municipalities with 5G.
Orange group revenues reached 10.3 billion euros in Q1 2021, up +0.5% year-on-year on a comparable basis despite the health crisis, which impacted the entire quarter, as opposed to just two weeks in Q1 2020. Growth was fueled by equipment sales, which were up +10.8%, fixed broadband services, up +5.3%, and IT and integration services, up +5.1%. In contrast, roaming revenue was down sharply (-31.1% year-on-year) as a result of ongoing travel restrictions. Africa & Middle East, where revenue increased by +7.1%, was the main driver of this growth. Poland also performed well, with growth of +4.1%.
There were 11.13 million convergent customers Group-wide at March 31, 2021, up +2.8% year-on-year.
Mobile services recorded 216.6 million access lines in March 31, 2021, up +1.2% year-on-year, including 78.0 million contracts, up +0.9%.
Fixed services had 45.0 million access lines in March 31, 2021, down -0.3% year-on-year. The number of fixed narrowband access lines was down -3.5%, while the number of very high-speed fixed broadband access lines continued to grow (+6.2%), delivering very good results, particularly in France and Poland.
Mobile financial services expanded their customer base, integrating nearly 300,000 business customers. This brought the total to 1.5 million customers in Europe and over 500,000 for Orange Bank Africa.
In Q1 2021 Orange continued to roll out its infrastructure strategy as set out in its Engage 2025 plan. Following the creation of Orange Concessions in January 2021 and the launch of its European TowerCo TOTEM in February, the Group announced on April 12, 2021 the creation of a FiberCo in Poland that will support the rollout of optical fiber in areas with limited or no access to very high-speed infrastructure. The FiberCo, valued at launch at 605 million euros, will include 2.4 million lines, including 1.7 million to be rolled out over the coming five years.
Outlook for 2021
The Group is maintaining its financial targets for 2021 as announced on February 18, 2021, namely:
- stable but negative EBITDAaL,
- eCAPEX of 7.6-7.7 billion euros,
- organic cash flow from telecoms activities over 2.2 billion euros,
- ratio of net debt to EBITDAaL for telecoms activities maintained at around 2x in the medium term.
These targets take into account the allocation of the 2.2 billion euro tax refund received at the end of 2020 after the French Council of State found in the Group’s favor in a long-running tax dispute, which is intended to generate added value for the Group in the long term but will have an impact on short-term targets.