France Telecom-Orange is targeting double digit growth in Africa in 2013, which would emulate its performance on the continent in 2012, as its markets in Europe begin to stall.
France Telecom-Orange had 230.7 million customers at 31 December 2012, with 81.6 million mobile customers in Africa and the Middle East.
Speaking at an event in Johannesburg on Thursday (16 May), Jean-Luc Lasnier, general manager for Orange Business Services in the Middle East and Africa said that the group achieved growth of 20% in 2012 in Africa, with 2013 “showing the same strong trend” while the US and Europe failed to deliver as strongly as in the past.
He said that Orange would spend 30% of its overall investment on the continent, somewhere in the region of 7 billion euros.
Lasnier said that with such investments into Africa, “the company wants results…we have pressure to deliver”.
In its annual results for 2012, Orange reported a net income of 3.39 billion euros, and capital expenditure of 5.82 billion euros.
In January, Orange announced its intention to serve the South African consumer market through a new subsidiary called Orange Horizons.
The group launched an e-commerce website, which sells telecoms-related devices and accessories, while future projects could include the launch of online stores selling telecoms-related equipment or airtime; the introduction of flexible travel solutions; or the launch of a virtual mobile operator (MVNO) activity, it said.
On Thursday, Lasnier highlighted the group’s intention as a business to business service provider, through Orange Business Service, the B2B arm of Orange.
In South Africa, he said that the strategy would be to continue targeting multinational companies (MNCs) with current clients including mining group’s BHP Billiton, AngloGold Ashanti, listed brewer, SABMiller, and British American Tobacco.
He said that of all the multi nationals Orange served in Africa, 70% are based in South Africa.
According to Morgan Mierke, country manager for Africa, the group’s staff count in SA is at about 60, which serves the rest of the continent.
Mierke said that the continent has seen a big shift towards a more services oriented platform, from a connectivity only provision as companies in South Africa looks at expansion into the rest of the continent.
He said that in the past, connectivity would have made up 90% of a company’s requirement, but this has shifted to a 50/50 connectivity and services ratio.
He added that services would continue to drive the group’s presence on the continent in the next four to five years to the extent that it would account for up to 70% of its business, with 30% towards connectivity.