Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 7 July 2020

French telco Orange mulls IPO of its MEA business

The company's regional business generated revenue of Dh16.9bn in the first three quarters of last year

Stephane Richard, chairman and chief executive of Orange, while speaking during the inauguration of MEA headquarters in Morocco on Wednesday. AFP
Stephane Richard, chairman and chief executive of Orange, while speaking during the inauguration of MEA headquarters in Morocco on Wednesday. AFP

France’s biggest telecoms company Orange is considering an initial public offering of its Middle East and Africa business as the company aims to fuel growth in the region.

“We are looking forward to consolidating our business in Middle East and Africa region… and IPO is one of the various options on our desk,” an Orange spokeswoman told The National on Thursday.

“Our regional business is going very strong right now but still it [an IPO] depends on market circumstances in the next few months. So far, we have not made any formal move towards a possible flotation and also not associated with any bank.”

Bloomberg reported earlier this week that Orange had appointed BNP Paribas and Morgan Stanley banks to advise on a proposed IPO of its MEA business.

Given its huge potential, MEA region is a strategic priority for Orange.

The company generated revenue of €4.2 billion (Dh16.9bn) in the first three quarters of last year in the region, up from €3.8bn during the same period in 2018.

One in 10 Africans is an Orange customer and almost 30 per cent of the telco’s 4G customers reside in the Middle East and Africa.

Orange Money, its mobile money transfer and financial service, has 45 million subscribers in the region.

The company opened a new MEA headquarters in Morocco on Wednesday.

Orange is present in 18 countries in the region, with 18,000 employees serving 125 million customers by the end of October last year.

The company invests almost €1bn in the region every year to further improve the connectivity and performance of its networks, according to the telecom company’s website.

“Orange is one of the rare international groups to have made the strategic choice, 20 years ago, to seek to develop in Africa and the Middle East,” the company’s chairman and chief executive Stéphane Richard said at the opening of the regional headquarters on Wednesday.

Updated: January 12, 2020 02:44 PM

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