Telecoms firm Iliad keeps targets after sales rise, mostly before lockdowns

PARIS (Reuters) - Telecoms group Iliad ILD.PA said on Tuesday that business activity and the rollout of its broadband networks had slowed sharply because of coronavirus lockdowns in France and Italy but it kept its full-year targets.

The Paris-based group, controlled by billionaire Xavier Niel, said first-quarter sales grew 6.9% from a year earlier to 1.38 billion euros ($1.49 billion), driven by higher broadband and mobile subscriptions, mostly added before the lockdowns

Iliad said it added 47,000 new broadband subscribers and 13,000 mobile contracts in France in the first quarter.

In Italy, the addition of more than half a million new mobile subscribers brought total mobile contracts to more than 5.8 million, two years after starting up in the country.

Iliad’s shares were up by about 3% in early Paris trading.

“Since the start of the lockdown, we’ve seen a logical slump in business activity and a sharp slowdown in our network rollout,” Chief Executive Officer Thomas Reynaud told reporters on a conference call.

Iliad kept its full-year targets unchanged for now. The telecoms business has shown more resilience than others since the start of European lockdown as internet infrastructure have been used more heavily by people stuck at home.

Reynaud said IFT, an infrastructure joint venture created this year with InfraVia Capital Partners, would invest 650 million euros to deploy the fibre network in France.

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain, Editing by Sarah White and Edmund Blair