By Kim Richters
Orange on Wednesday issued a new strategic plan for the period to 2025, including earnings targets and the potential formation of a new mobile-towers business.
The French network operator said it is aiming for growth in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization after leases of between 2% and 3% per year for the period between 2021 and 2023.
It also expects to increase organic cash flow for telecoms activities to between 3.5 billion and 4 billion euros ($3.88 billion and $4.43 billion) in 2023. In 2019, it was more than EUR2 billion, the company said.
The company also targets a net debt/EBITDA after leases ratio for its telecoms activities of around 2.0 times in the mid-term and net savings of EUR1 billion by 2023.
On infrastructure, Orange will sell 1,500 non-strategic sites in Spain to Cellnex Tel for EUR260 million, it said.
It will also create local tower entities in European countries to improve operational efficiency of the sites among other things, with the first projects starting next year in France and Spain. The local tower holdings could be consolidated into one business, which Orange will keep majority control of and which could be considered for consolidation opportunities in the European tower market, it said.
"We are going to grow our core business--connectivity--by adding to our competitive edge and by making the most of our network infrastructure," the company's Chief Executive Stephane Richard said, adding that the company will also support growth in areas besides European connectivity.
The company said it will pay a minimum annual dividend of EUR0.70 per share over the period and invest over EUR1.5 billion in a skills-building program for employees.
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