France Telecom is aiming to make one third of its revenues from business outside France by 2006, according to the company's chief executive.
International investment will be high on the French operator's list of priorities when it realises an estimated FFr20 billion (#2.12 billion) from its second public offering later this year.
At present, between eight per cent and nine per cent of France Telecom's revenues come from outside France, Michel Bon told financial reporters in London on Monday. The operator aims to increase this to 15 per cent by 2001 and to a third in 2006, he said.
"This is well achievable through our competing pan-European operator," said Bon. France Telecom co-owns European operator Global One, with Germany's Deutsche Telekom and US operator Sprint.
France Telecom will use half the funds raised at its forthcoming public offering to fund a two per cent cross shareholding with Deutsche Telekom. The other half will be used to finance international development, said Bon.
In France the operator's fixed line revenues have been hit by the arrival of new competitors in the country's liberalised telecomms market. But the domestic fixed line market will gather pace over the next few years, said Bon.
"We expect in 1999 an increase in revenue for fixed line in France, despite our loss of marketshare," said Bon. Most of the company's rebalancing since liberalisation has been done - partly by big increases in line rental charges, he said.
Mobile phone services will be an important growth area for France Telecom, with mobile penetration in the country currently below the European average, said Bon. "Mobile is going up and is very important," he said.
Unusually for a telco, France Telecom wants to run the country's leading Web portal site. France Telecom is currently the number two portal in France behind Yahoo, according to Bon, but he said the company hopes to take the lead.
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