PARIS Feb 20 France Telecom saw a
slowdown in sales and profit in the fourth quarter because of a
continued shakeout of its home market spurred by an aggressive
low-cost mobile challenger.
Revenue in the fourth quarter fell 3.2 percent to 10.92
billion euros ($14.59 billion) on a comparable basis, hit by
weakness in France and Poland, the company said on Wednesday.
Restated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and
amortisation (EBITDA) fell 8.8 percent to 3.13 billion euros for
a margin of 28.7 percent versus 30.4 percent a year ago.
Europe's fourth-largest telecom operator by revenue also
posted 7.97 billion euros in operating cash flow in 2012, just
short of its 8 billion target.
It maintained an earlier goal of hitting operating cash flow
above 7 billion euros this year, but acknowledged that the price
war in France was not abating as it had hoped.
"We are less optimistic about the end of the price war in
France now than we were a few months ago," said Chief Financial
Officer Gervais Pellissier. "The pressure on prices will be
worse in 2013 than we thought."
Pellissier added that the group nevertheless maintained its
objective to return to growth of operating cash flow in 2014,
but more by focusing on cost cuts than relying on the
stablisation of sales in France.