PARIS (Reuters) – Cross-border mergers are not part of Orange’s strategy in Europe, the new boss of France’s top telecoms group said on Tuesday, adding that the company’s priority was to strengthen its position in existing markets.
“Orange’s strategy doesn’t involve cross-border, European consolidation, or a big M&A project,” said Christel Heydemann at her first news conference since she succeeded Stephane Richard as chief executive on April 4.
“We have a lot of value in the business that we can already bring to our existing customers in our existing geographies,” she added.
Heydemann told financial analysts in an earlier call that she would share her vision and strategic priorities for Orange by the end of the year.
Asked if Orange needed a consolidation of the French telecoms market and if it could take part in such merger talks after the failure of several attempts to cut the number of operators from four to three, Heydemann said she would welcome any opportunity but said such a deal wasn’t a necessity for the company.
“It can’t be the core of our strategy for Orange,” she said, referring specifically to a potential merger within the French telecom sector.
Orange is currently in exclusive merger talks with its Spanish rival MasMovil with the aim of reducing the competitive landscape in a country whose poor performance has weighed on its results.
Heydemann also cited Belgium and Romania, where the company took control of other companies in either broadband or mobile to expand its services, as examples of recent deals that made sense for the group.
“We’ll be opportunistic,” Heydemann said. “All opportunities to create value, we’ll look at them.”
(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Bernadette Baum)