Iliad core profit up 5.4% on higher France, Italy revenue

FILE PHOTO: Guests waits before French telecoms operator Iliad the media conference in Milan

By Mathieu Rosemain

PARIS (Reuters) - French telecoms firm Iliad said on Friday that its core operating profit in the first quarter was up 5.4% from a year earlier, driven by higher revenues at home and in Italy.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation after leases (EBITDAaL) grew to 714 million euros ($755 million)over the period, Iliad said in a statement, while first-quarter sales rose by 4.8% to 1.9 billion euros.

Iliad, whose owner Xavier Niel took the company private last year via a 3.1 billion-euro buyout, reiterated its aim to grow in the three countries where it operates.

These also include Poland, where it recently acquired the country's fixed internet operator UPC from U.S. cable operator Liberty Global.

"Our priority remains to grow organically," Chief Executive Thomas Reynaud said, adding that the group was open to acquisitions, notably in Italy, where its $13 billion bid to buy Vodafone's business was rejected by the British telecoms firm.

"If a consolidation were to take place (in Italy) and if a player were to sell its Italian asset, we would look into it," Reynaud said on a results call.

Iliad is also seeking to reach a deal with rival Wind Tre in Italy to share the costs of the rolling out of their mobile network.

Reynaud said in March that Iliad was close to a deal with Wind Tre, owned by conglomerate Hutchinson. Talks are still ongoing and a transaction has not yet been finalised, a spokesperson for Iliad said.

($1 = 0.9458 euros)

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Alexander Smith)