January 14, 2009 / 10:17 AM / 9 years ago

France Telecom: big M&A impossible in current market

PARIS (Reuters) - France Telecom FTE.PA considers big merger and acquisition (M&A) deals "impossible" in the current market, Chief Executive Didier Lombard said on Wednesday.

"Do you think that in the current state of the markets you are capable of doing a big deal? It is impossible," Lombard told journalists at a presentation in Paris.

Last year the French telecoms group, which trades mainly as Orange, failed to clinch a takeover of Nordic operator TeliaSonera TLSN.ST but said it remained in favor of consolidation in the European telecoms market.

Asked if the company's net debt to EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) target would be eased if a major acquisition presented itself, Lombard said it would be "set in stone" as part of a new three-year plan due to be unveiled alongside annual results on March 4.

Reporting by Matt Gil; editing by John Stonestreet

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