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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 June, 2003, 07:18 GMT 08:18 UK
Orange forecasts higher profits
Orange shop
Orange, the mobile phone group controlled by France Telecom, has said it expects to raise core profit by 15-17% a year from 2003 to 2005.

The forecast was made in the first strategy presentation of new chief executive Solomon Trujillo.

Mr Trujillo also said the company was on track to meet its target of lifting turnover by 5% this year.

But Orange disappointed some investors, who had expected the company to announce that it would be paying a dividend for the first time.


Mr Trujillo said Orange aimed by 2005 to be number one or two and have a market share of more than 20% in each country in which it controls a mobile phone network.

Those businesses that did not meet this criteria would be sold "in due course", Orange said.

"In the case of Denmark and the Netherlands... our market share is not at a level I would like to see it at, as it does not generate the kinds of returns on capital that I would like to see," said Mr Trujillo.

"I'm hopeful that within the next year or two we can address this and take the action necessary to improve our position."

Orange also said it would join an alliance announced earlier this year among rivals Telecom Italia Mobile, Spain's Telefonica Moviles and Germany's T-Mobile.

The alliance aims to offer customers "seamless" services across Europe's major markets, the company said.

Orange is Europe's third largest mobile phone operator after Vodafone and T-Mobile.

Last year it reported a core profit - profit before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation - of 5.1bn euros and a net loss of 4.5bn euros.

Orange shares in Paris were up 2% at 7.53 euros during early trade.

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