French telco reports sizeable increase in earnings in first nine months of 2017 as price increases push revenues up

Bouygues Telecom has raised its EBITDA margin target for the full year, having posted a significant increase in earnings in the first nine months of the year.

The French operator reported a 6.4% sales hike in the first three quarters compared with the same period a year ago, bringing in €3.73 billion.

Sales growth came primarily form price increases in the premium mobile and fixed segments, Bouygues Telecom said, while there was also a slightly favourable impact from the implementation of the new roaming regulations.

The business, which accounts for 15.6% of revenues at French construction group Bouygues, generated €882 million in EBITDA, up 26.5% on last year and representing 44.4% of the group total.

Its EBITDA margin for the first nine months was 27.7%, up by 4.6 percentage points year-on-year.

As a result, Bouygues Telecom increased its EBITDA margin target for 2017 as a whole to 26%-27%, having previously set an expectation of just above 25%. It also reiterated its goal of generating €300 million in free cash flow in three years.

"Bouygues Telecom confirmed its very good commercial momentum in the third quarter of 2017," the group said in its nine-month results announcement, in which it did not, however, split out third-quarter figures, other than for customer additions.

The telco said it added 110,000 new mobile plan customers, excluding machine-to-machine (M2M) in Q3, taking its total mobile plan base to 10.2 million. Its total mobile net adds came in at 295,000 during the quarter and 940,000 in the full year. Its 4G customer base stood at 7.7million at the end of September, up from 6.5 million a year earlier.

The third quarter was Bouygues Telecom’s best ever in terms of signing up fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) customers, it said, with customer additions reaching 38,000. It had 209,000 FTTH customers at the end of September.

In the fixed-line market as a whole, Bouygues added 110,000 new customers in Q3 and 243,000 in the first three quarters.

"The company is well-positioned to achieve its target of 1 million additional fixed customers by end-2017 versus end-2014," it said.