Iliad First-Quarter Sales Increase 6.6% on Mobile Promotions

  • Company gained 215,000 wireless subscribers during the period
  • Mobile carrier maintains its commercial and financial targets

Iliad SA, the low-cost mobile-phone company founded by French billionaire Xavier Niel, reported a 6.6 percent increase in sales for the first quarter after promotions helped it win customers.

Revenue rose to 1.15 billion euros ($1.3 billion), the company said in a statement Tuesday. Iliad gained 215,000 wireless subscribers and 78,000 broadband users during the period, bringing the total number of customers to more than 18 million.

Iliad continues to add users after becoming France’s fourth mobile carrier four years ago with wireless packages at its Free brand starting at 2 euros a month. Its debut sparked a price war that has undermined French phone operators’ profitability, leading to combination attempts among its rivals seeking to reduce competitive pressures.

"Iliad’s commercial and financial execution remains solid, with continued market share gains in the mobile segment combined with margin expansion," Raymond James analysts said in a note. "Iliad reported encouraging first quarter customer and revenue trends."

Iliad shares gained 1.4 percent to 194.30 euros at 9:47 a.m. in Paris after advancing as much as 2.8 percent.

The carrier kept its financial and commercial targets, Thomas Reynaud, deputy chief executive officer, said in a phone interview. The company is targeting earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 40 percent of sales by the end of 2020, up from 33.8 percent in 2015.

Last month, market leader Orange SA abandoned a bid to buy the phone business of Bouygues SA amid disagreements over valuation and other issues. Iliad was also a loser in the collapse of the deal, as the pact would have potentially allowed it to buy some assets from the merged entity.

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