The CEO of French telecommunications operator Orange, Stéphane Richard, said he is targeting acquisitions abroad, particularly in Africa, to take advantage of the opportunities of the crisis in the coming months. This is what he said in an interview with the French economic daily The echoes, Monday June 15. “It could make sense for Orange to have a larger African geographic base than today and to be present in the major African economies of Nigeria and South Africa”, said the manager. The French telecoms operator already has one in ten Africans among its customers.
“In recent years, Orange has mainly grown organically. We have to be more aggressive. A crisis creates problems, but also creates opportunities. Orange must put itself in the spirit of seizing these opportunities “said Richard to the business daily. Africans know this operator well since it is already present on the continent, especially with mobile banking. By the end of 2019, 45 million Africans, spread across seventeen countries and excluded from banking, had already opened an Orange Money account. A way to transfer money and have access to financial services on mobile to make instant transactions, secure. These smartphone payments that simplify the lives of Africans without a bank account.
And if Mr. Richard said he saw opportunities for his company again “In international telecoms, especially in Africa”, he added to his list of trades “Cybersecurity, the digital transformation of companies” or even expanding the range of business activities to “New professions, such as health, in which we could develop more”.
Development of a health center
“Orange Business Services has already developed a health center. The crisis has shown the importance of long-distance medicine, an area that promises rapid development. We are ready to study all the opportunities, whether they are links with health actors or partnerships ”added Richard. The CEO assured not to want to go “In a new European country through an acquisition”. “We are attentive, on the other hand, to what is happening in the countries where we are already present, in particular Romania and Spain”.
Asked about the absence of a large acquisition carried out by Orange in the telecoms in recent years, he said ” happy enough “ to not have “Launched an offensive on Telecom Italia”, claiming that “The problem with large acquisitions is that it often ends in a big disaster”.
“Orange will however actively examine the opportunities for external growth, small or transformative. In our businesses, there is a question of critical size. Even the big European operators are dwarfs on a global scale “, he continued.
“In a few years, we have gone from the Top 5 to the Top 15 in the global industry. If we stay like that, we’ll be playing in the second division in a few years. But we will only operate if it brings value to our shareholders ”, said the CEO, stressing that he had in mind “Rather a calendar of a few months than a few years” to take action.