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Orange set to ditch name in rebranding exercise

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Orange set to ditch name in rebranding exercise
10:44 CEST+02:00
Orange, Switzerland's third-ranked telecom company, announced on Tuesday that it is changing its name under a rebranding exercise likely to cost tens of millions of francs as it scrambles to catch up to its competitors, market leader Swisscom and Sunrise.

The name change is set to be unveiled on April 23rd, the company said while announcing what it called “solid” financial results for 2014.

Orange’s revenues rose 1.9 percent to 1.3 billion francs from the previous year, while its total number of customers increased 0.9 percent to 2,166,000.

But Johan Andsjö, CEO of Orange Switzerland, acknowledged the company, which came under new ownership when it was acquired in February by French billionaire entrepreneur Xavier Niel, faced challenges in 2014.

After switching IT systems in the first quarter the company has had to work hard to “regain ground versus our competitors”, Andsjö said in a statement.

“The next logical step is change the brand to further develop the company together with our new owner,” he said.

“We started preparing ourselves more than a year ago and our ambition with the rebranding is to keep the things customers tell us they love, to improve the things they tell us to improve and to bring innovations to simplify their ever more mobile lives.”

Under a deal announced in December 2014 and finalized last month, Niel’s holding company NJJ Capital acquired Orange Switzerland for 2.9 billion francs from funds managed by UK-based Apax Partners.

One of the reasons for the name change is the telecom, which was once a subsidiary of France Télécom, reportedly pays 20 million francs annually for the right to use the name Orange.

But the rebranding exercise itself is likely to be an expensive proposition.

Thomas Sieber, the former head of Orange Switzerland told the Tages Anzeiger newspaper that an estimate for rebranding done for the company in 2012 came to 40 million francs.

Orange encourages customers to follow the rebranding exercise on a dedicated website that features a video of Andsjö talking — in English — about the change billed as “a new chapter in our history”.

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