July 27, 2017 / 6:34 AM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 2-Orange revenues rise in France for first time since 2009

* Q2 revenue in France up 0.5 percent to 4.45 bln euros

* Q2 group revenue up 1.4 pct to 10.2 bln euros

* Q2 core operating profit up 2.4 pct to 3.38 bln euros

* Shares up 2 percent (Adds shares, details on Orange Bank, state-owned stake)

By Mathieu Rosemain and Gwénaëlle Barzic

PARIS, July 27 (Reuters) - Telecoms group Orange grew revenues in France for the first time in eight years in the second quarter, in a sign its investments in broadband and mobile networks are finally paying off.

The arrival in 2012 of Iliad’s low-cost Free Mobile services in France sparked a price war which is still being felt by Orange, whose attempts to ease the pressure by buying rival Bouygues Telecom failed last year.

The former monopoly has also heavily invested in fixed and mobile broadband and high-speed mobile Internet with the aim of positioning itself as market leader in the field against rival SFR Group.

Orange’s quarterly revenue in France was up 0.5 percent to 4.45 billion euros ($5.22 billion), helped by net contract additions in both mobile and fixed broadband, it said on Thursday.

Group revenue grew 1.4 percent to 10.2 billion euros, while core operating profit was up 2.4 percent to 3.38 billion euros, driven by sales in France and Spain.

That was broadly in line with analysts average’ forecasts in a Reuters poll, which saw a quarterly core operating profit of 3.36 billion euros and group revenue of 10.2 billion.

Orange shares were up about 2 percent to 14.6 euros in early Paris trading.

The company, which has expanded in Africa and the Middle East, is looking at ways to diversify revenues beyond telecoms, but recently delayed the nationwide launch of its online banking service Orange Bank until the end of summer after glitches during the test phase.

“We’ll fix a precise launch date after summer holidays and we’ll fix it depending on the commercial calendar of our telecoms offers,” Chief Financial Officer Ramon Fernandez said.

Another hot topic for Orange is the future of the 23 percent combined stake the French state owns through its state-owned investment bank and the country’s shareholding agency.

New French President Emmanuel Macron has said he aims to raise 10 billion euros through asset disposals to finance a fund dedicated to innovation.

“The state will determine its position depending on its own criteria,” Fernandez said, insisting a partial or complete stake sake would have no impact on group management and strategy.

$1 = 0.8526 euros Editing by Andrew Callus and Mark Potter

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