Iliad signals weaker cash flow as it steps up 5G spending

Iliad has flagged a cut in its free cash flow target for this year as the French telecoms group steps up its spending on 5G networks.
Iliad in Italy
The company, controlled by billionaire Xavier Niel, said it would announce a new target in September, but did not say how much it planned to invest in 5G mobile networks.

“The consequence of this is that we have a big uncertainty on the free cash flow for this year, since they’re not yet capable of being clear on how much they will invest,” said Stifel analyst Stephane Beyazian.

Iliad aims to sell its 30 percent stake in On Tower France, which it expects to fetch at least 600 million euros by the end of 2021 – though proceeds would mainly be used to cut debt.

The coronavirus pandemic pushed Iliad to postpone its Italian broadband launch until after the summer, although it predicted it would turn a profit from the country in the current quarter, sooner than previously expected.

Iliad, which faces potential supply issues from a global shortage in semiconductor chips, had previously guided for 2021 French operating free cash flow of around 900 million euros.