Orange to merge Mideast, African subsidiaries
PARIS - French telecoms operator Orange plans to merge its subsidiaries in Africa and the Middle East where smartphone services are booming, a senior executive said Tuesday.
"In the future we will go more towards forms of consolidation than towards new licences" in the two regions, whose 100 million customers make up 40 percent of Orange's clientele, Marc Rennard told a news briefing.
"Our priority is internal growth," he said, singling out Egypt and Ivory Coast as countries with high potential.
The telecoms giant is also looking at Mauritania, Togo and Gambia, said Rennard, who is also head of operations in Asia.
Orange will group around 20 subsidiaries in Africa and the Middle East into one holding company, he said while ruling out any immediate intention of listing the new structure on the stock market.
The regions' profitability is "slightly higher than average for the group", he said.
Orange posted a turnover of 5.4 billion euros ($6.7 billion) in 2013 in the regions, where it employs some 21,000 people.