France Telecom-Orange has become the latest European operator to cut its dividend after Q3 results showed revenues fell once again.
Chairman and CEO Stephane said cutting the dividend for both 2012 and 2013 to “at least" €0.8 was still “attractive in the current conditions”.
Earlier this year rivals KPN and Telekom Austria announced similar dividend cuts, while Telefónica suspended theirs.
The news came as the France-based operator revealed Q3 revenues were down 4.4 percent year-on-year to €10.8 billion.
FT-O does not report net income on a quarterly basis – it was down 9.5 percent to €1.9 billion in the first half of the year – but EBIDA was down over eight percent between July and September.
Revenues were down in all of its principal business units.
In its home market, revenues were down 5.2 percent to €5.3 billion.
Growth in Spain slowed after a positive first six months of the year, while revenues were also down in Poland.
The rest of world saw revenue decline in excess of eight percent to €2 billion.
Revenues were flat at both its enterprise and wholesale businesses.
A 3.1 percent y-o-y increase, to 227.2 million, in the overall number of customers was one of the few bright spots.
Richard described the results as “solid” but admitted operating cash flow will face “additional downward pressure” next year due to the impact of Groupe Illiad’s Free business, which has shaken up the French market since launching in January as well as macroeconomic and regulatory factors.
“Measures begun in 2011 to deal with these multiple shocks will be expanded on in 2013,” added Richard.
These measures include a more aggressive commercial pushback, improved offers, exploration of new growth areas as well as the careful management of the company's cost base.
“We can realistically envisage a return to cash flow growth in 2014,” said Richard.