French telco reports EBITDA rise and swings to operating, net profit in three months to end-March.

Bouygues Telecom turned in a solid performance in the first quarter of this year, posting good growth in earnings and strong customer additions.

The French operator, whose viability as a standalone player was questioned by industry watchers this time last year, generated €243 million in EBITDA in the first three months of the year, up from €146 million in the year-earlier period.

The unit also saw sales rise by 8% to €1.22 billion, buoyed by customer growth at its fixed and mobile businesses.

Bouygues Telecom signed up a net 88,000 new customers in the three months to the end of March, giving it a fixed base of 3.2 million.

"As a result, the company is in line with its target of 1 million additional fixed customers by end-2017 versus end-2014," Bouygues group said in its results statement.

The conglomerate added that its fixed customer base includes 518,000 very high-speed connections – that is, connections of 30 Mbps or higher in the downstream – of which 144,000 are fibre-to-the-home (FTTH).

"Two-thirds of new FTTH customers in first-quarter 2017 are new customers for the fixed business," it said.

On the mobile side, Bouygues Telecom’s net adds came in at 363,000, increasing its base to 13.36 million.

The telco swung to an operating profit in Q1, generating €34 million compared with a €55 million loss a year earlier. And its contribution to group net profit was €18 million, versus a €40 million loss.

It invested €309 million during the quarter, in line with its €1.2 billion capex target for the full year.

"This is intended to maintain Bouygues Telecom’s leadership in 4G over the long term, prepare for the arrival of 5G and ramp up the rollout of its FTTH network," the firm said.

Bouygues Telecom entered merger talks with French market leader Orange at the start of 2016, but discussions were formally brought to a close in April last year with no deal emerging.

At the time, Bouygues said it would continue with a standalone strategy, insisting that the market showed strong growth potential that it is well-positioned to capture.