Orange chairman and CEO Stéphane Richard has reiterated that he plans to establish the company as a convergent player in all the markets in which it operates, which may involve mergers and acquisitions or organic launches in countries including Belgium.
Speaking to analysts after Orange reported solid full-year results, Richard ruled out any role for Orange in further consolidation in the French market “mainly for competition reasons” but would possibly look to acquire assets resulting from divestitures after the consolidation of other players.
Richard said Orange was already a convergent player in France, Spain – where it is in the process of acquiring alternative operator Jazztel – and Poland, but that this was not yet the case in Romania, Belgium, Moldova and Slovakia. He said that in the case of Belgium Orange had decided to seek regulated access to cable but that it could also look to a merger or acquisition “if there are some opportunities”.
Under rules finalised in 2013, leading Belgian cable operators are required to give alternative providers access to their analogue and digital TV and broadband services. Richard has previously hinted that Orange could seek to make fixed-line acquisitions in the country.
Referring to the Spanish market, Richard also said that the Jazztel acquisition would be “instrumental” to its convergence play and investment in fibre.
Richard also confirmed Orange’s target of signing up one million fibre customers in France by the end of this year out of five million covered by its network, up from 3.6 million currently.