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Iliad Posts 78% Jump in First-Half Net After Boosting Sales

Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Iliad SA, the French low-cost mobile-phone carrier that has drawn competitors into a price war, reported a 78 percent increase in first-half profit after adding customers and boosting revenue.

Net income jumped to 141.8 million euros ($187.2 million) from 79.6 million euros a year earlier, Paris-based Iliad, which operates under the brand name Free, said today in a statement. Sales gained 27 percent to 1.83 billion euros, compared with the 1.8 billion-euro estimate of analysts.

Free began service in January 2012 with packages starting at 2 euros per month. Competitors faced with falling phone revenue have opted to cut costs. Bouygues SA this week said second-quarter profit rose 10 percent after it reduced spending. Vivendi SA’s SFR unit has simplified its structure and eliminated jobs as part of plans to cut expenses by 500 million euros by the end of 2014.

Bouygues and SFR have also started talks to share parts of their mobile networks to limit costs.

At Orange SA, France’s former phone monopoly and still the largest of the country’s four carriers, Chief Stephane Richard has forecast that cost-cutting efforts will help the company beat an initial goal of 600 million euros in savings this year.

Iliad rose 1.1 percent to 181.50 euros at the close in Paris. The stock has gained 40 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marie Mawad in Paris at mmawad1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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