France Telecom ends year on good note

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PARIS -- France Telecom closed the year with more than €7 billion ($9.2 billion) in organic cash flow, a decrease in gross operating margin of less than 2% compared with 2005 and a steady level of capital spending (13% of revenues), the company said Friday during an investor day in Paris.

The Gallic telecommunications operator hopes to finish 2007 with stable rates of investment and organic cash flow generation. The group is planning a net reduction of 17,000 employees (16,000 in France) by the end of 2008, due in part to new measures adopted after dumping its early retirement plan.

France Telecom plans to invest more than €270 million ($354 million) over the next two years in the early stage deployment phase of its "very high-speed broadband network" in France. The company expects to connect 150,000 to 200,000 customers to its fiber network by 2008.

"The approach taken by the Group with regards to very high-speed broadband perfectly illustrates how we are driving the transformation of France Telecom around the world: anticipating customer expectations and usages; mastering technological evolution; adopting a pragmatic approach to the deployment of technology," France Telecom chairman and CEO Didier Lombard said in a statement.
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