Iliad, the French telecoms group, is facing all the wrong kind of publicity after announcing that five directors will receive EUR55.3 million in shares, while still struggling to reverse a downward slide in its share price.

This is not the first time the company has courted controversy. In May 2019, its chairman Maxime Lombardini was fined EUR600,000 by the French financial watchdog for insider trading. He is currently appealing.

The company’s first-half results saw group revenues rise 8.4% year-on-year to EUR2.6 billion, although losses in Italy led to a 7.4% decrease in group earnings to EUR802 million.

Other announcements included that its subsidiary ‘Free’ has added 172,000 FTTH subscribers in the second quarter and that Iliad will work with Nokia to rollout 5G in France and Italy.

It also revealed that it is talking to French private equity firm InfraVia to set up a partnership aimed at speeding FTTH rollouts in sparsely populated areas of France. Iliad will set up a “special entity” which will manage the fibre of its broadband unit Free, transferring around one million co-financed sockets. The Group will then sell 51% to InfraVia based on an enterprise value of EUR600 million. The new company will co-finance new sockets and tranches, with Free entering into a long-term service agreement for access and information services that will also be open to third-party operators. Iliad says that this partnership will be part of France Plan Tres Haut Debit (France’s national broadband plan).

Posted by Teresa Cottam

Teresa is the Chief Analyst at Omnisperience and has over 25 years' experience in the telecoms and technology markets. She is an expert on SME and enterprise telecoms, and has considerable vertical market expertise. Her research focus lies in helping B2B telecoms firms become more commercially successful by better understanding and meeting their customers' needs. She is a judge of the GSMA Global Mobile Awards (GloMo's) for customer experience and enterprise innovation, and for the UK Cloud awards. You can follow her on Twitter @teresacottam

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