May 22, 2018 / 8:04 AM / 4 months ago

French telecoms stocks rise as regulator re-ignites merger talk

PARIS, May 22 (Reuters) - Shares in France’s telecoms stocks rose on Tuesday, which traders attributed to comments from the head of the country’s telecoms regulator which re-ignited talk of possible mergers within the sector.

Sebastien Soriano, head of France’s Arcep telecoms regulator, told Le Monde newspaper in an interview published on Tuesday that Arcep could be open to consolidation within the sector.

“Regarding the consolidation in the telecoms industry - Arcep’s door is opening,” Soriano told Le Monde.

“But (operators) must have a value-creating project for the country, and not for shareholders only.”

Iliad’s shares rose by 4.4 percent, while the shares of market leader Orange advanced 2.8 percent. Bouygues , which runs Bouygues Telecom, climbed 2.6 percent.

Several attempts to cut the number of French telecoms operators from four two free have failed over the last few years. The last try was in 2016, when Orange failed to acquire Bouygues Telecom. [

Arcep published a report earlier on Tuesday that showed that in 2017, French telecom operators had invested an extra 660 million euros ($779.53 million) more than the previous year, for an overall total of 9.6 billion euros.

$1 = 0.8467 euros Reporting by Blandine Henault and Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Mathieu Rosemain

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