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12 Nov 2019 | 07:21

Vodafone books first-half loss due to India hit; ups earnings guidance

Telecom company Vodafone booked a first-half loss owing to an adverse court ruling in India, but upgraded its earnings guidance for the full year as sales inched higher.

Net losses for the six months through September amounted to €1.89bn, compared to losses of €7.80bn on-year, including discontinued operations.

Vodafone's Idea business in India was hurt by a court ruling there ordering the industry to pay back fees to the government.

Organic adjusted Ebitda rose 1.4%, which Vodafone said reflected €0.2bn of operating expense savings in Europe and common functions.

The company upgraded its annual adjusted Ebitda guidance to €14.8bn-to-€15.0bn, up from previous guidance of €13.8bn-to-€14.2bn.

Revenue rose 0.4% to €21.9bn, benefiting from the acquisition of Liberty Global's assets in Germany and Central and Eastern Europe.

Organic service revenue rose 0.3% as growth returned in the second quarter, after it fell by 0.2% in the first.

Vodafone said the return to growth was supported by improvements in South Africa, Spain and Italy, with a 'solid 'retail performance in Germany and strong commercial acceleration in the UK.

The company declared an interim dividend of 4.50c, down 7% on-year.

It also tweaked its free cash flow guidance to around €5.4bn, compared to 'at least' €5.4bn previous.

Pro-forma financial leverage was expected to be around 3.0 times at year-end, excluding the INWIT transaction.

Vodafone said it planned to reduce leverage towards the lower end of its 2.5 times-to-3.0 times range within the next few years.

'I am pleased by the speed at which we are executing on the strategic priorities that we announced this time last year,' chief executive Nick Read said.

'This is reflected in our return to top-line growth in the second quarter, which we expect to build upon in the second half of the year in both Europe and Africa.' Story provided by
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