(Corrects number of mobile subscribers in 11th paragraph)
By Leila Abboud and Gwénaëlle Barzic
PARIS, Aug 29 (Reuters) - French low-cost telecoms carrier Iliad is ahead of schedule on its 2015 goal to reach annual sales of 4 billion euros ($5.3 billion) and will probably have 15 percent mobile market share by the end of this year, its finance chief said.
“We are ahead of the goals in our strategic plan,” Chief Financial Officer Thomas Reynaud said on Friday in an interview after second-quarter results.
He added that Iliad’s $15 billion bid for T-Mobile US made in early August remained “pertinent”, but declined to comment further on the potential deal.
Deutsche Telekom, the parent company of the fourth-place mobile operator in the United States, has dismissed Iliad’s offer as too low. Iliad may still raise its $33 per share bid for 56.6 percent of T-Mobile US with the help of partners, sources earlier told Reuters.
Meanwhile, France’s second-biggest broadband provider continued to grow at home, helped by its launch of mobile services in 2012.
First-half revenue rose 10.4 percent to 2.02 billion euros.
Mobile revenue jumped 24.1 percent to 745.7 million euros, with more than one million new net subscribers in the first half.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 6.6 percent to 624.2 million euros, while net profit slid 1.3 percent to 140 million euros.
Reynaud said Iliad had put up more than 1,000 mobile towers in the second quarter and that its network build-out was accelerating. “We should be able to erect more than 1,000 more antennas in the second half of the year,” he added.
Under the terms of its mobile licence, Iliad must cover 75 percent of the French population with its network by January 2015. While it builds the network, much of Iliad customers’ mobile traffic is carried on market leader Orange’s network under a commercial agreement.
Iliad had 9.1 million mobile subscribers as of June 30, which Reynaud said represented about 13.4 percent market share.
Iliad remains smaller in mobile than Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom, but its cut-price plans have attracted budget-conscious customers and eroded rivals’ profitability.
Its shares have risen 12.6 percent this year to close at 167.20 euros, outperforming the largely flat European telecom index.
1 US dollar = 0.7608 euro Additional reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Mark Potter