Debt-ridden telecoms group Altice says seeing recovery in France

PARIS, March 15 (Reuters) - Altice, the debt-ridden telecoms and cable group undergoing a restructuring to improve its fortunes, said it was seeing signs of a recovery in the French market as it reported annual results on Thursday.

The company, majority-owned by billionaire Patrick Drahi, said trying to improve its general customer service had led to a pick-up in customer numbers in France, with some 69,000 clients added to its French fibre customer base in the fourth quarter.

Altice shares slumped around 50 percent last year, in the wake of weak third-quarter results which showed the company losing customers to rivals such as Iliad, Bouygues Telecom and Orange.

Those woes prompted Drahi to split Altice's U.S. and European operations and embark on asset sales to cut back Altice's debt and improve its fortunes. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Dominique Rodriguez; Editing by Maya Nikolaeva)