Orange, France’s largest telecoms company, is considering moving into the South African telecoms market.
This is according to Orange CEO Stéphane Richard, who spoke about the potential move to French newspaper Les Echos.
“It could make sense for Orange to have a larger African geographic base than today and to be present in the large African economies of Nigeria and South Africa, ” said Richard.
Richard envisions that if such a move were to be made, it would happen relatively quickly.
“If one considers there are things to do, the time frame I am considering is rather a few months than a few years,” Richard said.
The reason for Orange’s consideration of such a move is that he believes Orange needs to be more aggressive in its strategy.
“A crisis creates problems but also causes opportunities,” said Richard.
“Orange must put itself in the spirit of seizing these opportunities.”
Richard declined to comment when asked specifically on possible interest in MTN Group.
Orange already has a presence in 18 countries in the Middle East and Africa market, and this market is its fastest-growing region.
Middle East and Africa IPO
In January 2020, Orange chose BNP Paribas SA and Morgan Stanley to advise it on a proposed initial public offering (IPO) of its Middle East and Africa business.
The listing, which was still at an early stage, was not set in stone, as Orange still had the opportunity to decide against pursuing it.
Orange said in a statement that it had placed all its Middle East and Africa activities into a separate entity to provide “various options for growth”.
An IPO was seen as a possible opportunity for said growth, and it appears that Orange continues to investigate other possible ways to grow within the Middle East and Africa region.
In 2018, Orange’s Middle East and Africa business reported $1.8 billion in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.