HomeAccessIliad outstrips rivals as profits increase by more than 4% in H1

    Iliad outstrips rivals as profits increase by more than 4% in H1


    The number of customers and earnings rise in all three Iliad markets – France, Italy and Poland

    The French operator group, Iliad, reported more than a 4% rise in half-year core profit from increases in customers across markets and expanding activities in Italy.

    The privately held company operates in France and Italy under the Free brand and in Poland as Play. It posted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation and after leases (EBITDAal) of €1.64 billion for the first half of 2023, up from €1.58 billion a year earlier – which itself was a big jump from the preceeding year.

    As Yahoo! points out, this performance is unusual for a European operator in the current economic climate particularly: for example, French competitors Orange, the incumbent, and SFR, part of the Altice group, recorded weaker earnings growth for the same period.

    Customer gains

    In France, Free recorded 128,000 net new mobile subscribers (187,000 4G/5G subscribers) and 42,000 net new broadband and ultra-fast broadband subscribers, of which 205,000 are on fibre. Iliad ended the second as France’s leader for net adds.
    In Italy, iliad Italia retained its leading position for net mobile adds in Q2 with 267,000 net new subscribers, and 18,000 net additions for fibre.
    In Poland, mobile customers increased by 77,000 quarter on quarter, with 98,000 of them post-paid, while prepaid customers fell by 21,000. In the fixed segment, net additions were 19,000. Iliad noted, this is “a moderate increase mainly led by refocusing sales offerings on the PŚO network [Poland’s biggest open access broadband network], but not yet reflecting the full potential of our convergent offers”.

    Robust model

    Iliad’s CEO Thomas Raynaud commented in a statement that in an economic environment “full of uncertainties, caution is called for, but Iliad’s development model is proving its robustness”.

    Operators across Europe are struggling with rising energy costs, heavy capital expenditure on infrastructure such as 5G and fibre, as well as subscribers wanting to spend less due to the cost of living crisis and rising inflation.

    Many have responded by putting their prices up, quite often above the rate of inflation, such as in the UK.  

    However Free Mobile in France, the largest of the three opcos in the group, set a five-year price cap on its plans, although the cost of “add-ons” increased and has been controversial.

    Italian acquisition?

    At a press conference, Raynaud said the Italian government’s proposed deal to sell KRR a stake in Italy’s fixed infrastructure underlined a “strong political will” to deploy fibre across the country, to which Iliad contributes. He said Iliad is waiting for more details and is still looking for possible acquisitions in Italy after its proposed takeover of Vodafone Italy was rebuffed last year