Iliad eyes enterprise market after strong H1Iliad eyes enterprise market after strong H1
Iliad plans to exploit its brand and recent iTrust acquisition to target the B2B market in France.
August 30, 2023
The France-based Iliad Group clearly relishes its reputation as a maverick operator among a sea of more established European players, claiming that the "Iliad way" is allowing it to outperform rivals in its three markets of France, Italy and Poland.
As remarked by group CEO Thomas Reynaud during the earnings call for the first six months of the year, "we are the number one in terms of growth rate among the top 15 European telcos. This is not random. This is a result of our strong focus on growth and commercial performance" in a tough macroeconomic environment.
Reynaud highlighted strategies such as the strong cooperation between the three national operators and focus on cross-border synergies, along with the group's exit from the stock market, which he said "gives us more freedom to invest and to have the right reason in terms of investment."
He also pointed to the implementation of a fixed-mobile convergence strategy in all three markets, with Polish operator Play completing the acquisition of cable operator UPC Poland from Liberty Global last year.
"The Iliad way is also commitment to innovation, to preserve our maverick mindset, and clearly the exit from the stock market and the chance to have Xavier Niel as a long term, committed shareholder, give us a lot of flexibility and a lot of freedom," he said.
Looking ahead, Iliad is planning to make a bigger push into the enterprise services market, at least in its domestic market of France.
"We strongly believe that we have a huge opportunity to capitalize on the strength of our brand and on our assets in order to take market share in the B2B market," he said. "This is just the beginning of the journey. Clearly the strategic acquisition of [cybersecurity specialist] iTrust is a great door opener for large corporations … we managed to grow our B2B activity by 55% in H1," he said.
Iliad reported group organic revenue growth of 7.5% in the half-year period to June 30, with France contributing 7.7%, Italy 12.2% and Poland 5.6%.
On a reported basis, total consolidated revenue increased 10.4% in H1 2023 to €4.44 billion (US$4.85 billion), of which France accounted for €2.92 billion ($3.19 billion), Poland just over a billion and Italy close to half a billion. EBITDA after leases increased to €1.64 billion ($1.79 billion), up from €1.57 billion ($1.71 billion) a year previously.
The profit for the period was €231 million ($252 million), down from €639 million ($698 million) a year previously, which was owing to last year's gains from the sale of the remaining 30% share in On Tower France to Cellnex and an increase in net finance costs in part due to the UPC Poland acquisition.
In France, "our sales momentum was really solid. We are strengthening our local presence in terms of distribution, in terms of customer care. We still had a big push on fiber and we managed to move 70% of our DSL customers to fiber. We just reached five million FTTH subscribers and this is clearly better than what we anticipated," Reynaud said.
Iliad noted that the French market remains highly competitive, although domestic operator Free has refrained from increasing prices there.
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In terms of network coverage in France, Free's 5G network now covers 90.1% of the population while Free Fiber passed 33.5 million homes in France, including 6.8 million homes in very densely populated areas and 26.7 million in averagely and non-densely populated areas.
— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading
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