PARIS (AFP) – French telecoms giant Orange on Thursday reported a 20-fold slide in net profit in 2021 largely on the back of a sizeable Spanish asset writedown and an exceptional tax hit.
Net profit reached EUR233 million (USD264 million), down from EUR4.8 billion a
The group faced exceptional tax items to the tune of EUR2.2 billion and a EUR3.7-billion writedown on Spanish assets.
Sales were stable year-on-year at EUR42.5 billion with Africa and the Middle East posting a 10.6 per cent jump.
The group achieved all of its 2021 targets, said Executive Director for Finance Ramon Fernandez.
He stressed the factors weighing down on Orange were “non-recurrent” issues which “do not affect operational performance”.
Outgoing chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stephane Richard, who is leaving in April after his conviction in a case dating back to his time in the French government, said the company is now the “uncontested fibre optic leader” in Europe.
Richard will be succeeded by Christel Heydemann, currently vice president for Europe at Schneider Electric.
Richard’s position at the telecoms giant had became fragile in November, when an appeals court handed him a one-year suspended sentence for complicity in misuse of public funds over a massive 2008 state payout to businessman Bernard Tapie.