Altice Europe swings back in France as it prepares to sell off Portugese fibre business

Altice Europe founder and majority-owner Patrick Drahi

Altice Europe has lifted its full-year targets following a successful quarter in its main French market.

The company’s French division accounts for more than 70% of Altice Europe’s activity, and grew 4% year-over-year. Internationally the company grew by 3.6%

SFR – Altice Europe’s French telco – had recorded losses for the four quarters prior, dipping by 7.3% in Q3 2018. 

The company said that this is the first time since 2010 that SFR grew revenue out of sales to individual customers. 

As a result, Altice Europe has improved its financial year guidance for the country from 3-5% to 5-6%.

Speaking on the company’s earnings call, Altice founder and majority-owner Patrick Drahi said: “All our companies grew – France, Portugal, International – and this growth is accelerating quarter after quarter.”

The growth in France will serve as a relief to Drahi, with SFR’s poor performance at the end of 2018 causing Altice Europe’s shares to plummet by 60%.

The company also confirmed that it is moving ahead with the sale of its Portugese fibre business in an attempt to trim its €31 billion debt. 

Drahi said: “We are at the middle or close to the second part of the middle [of talks] with several groups on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Altice Europe currently owns 100% of the fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network in Portugal, serving 3.8 million homes.

Drahi continued: “We’re growing the Portuguese business. We would very much welcome investors if they meet our conditions.”

Meanwhile, Altice USA – which split away from Altice Europe in 2018 – reported revenue growth, and dropped 21,000 video subscribers, improving on the 24,000 it lost in the same quarter of 2018.

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