Sunday, May 19, 2024

Vodafone Irish business boosted by price increases, new customers

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Vodafone reported on Tuesday a 2.2 per cent rise in organic earnings for 2024, meeting market forecasts, after it returned to top-line growth in the final quarter helped by gains in Britain, Germany and Ireland.

In Ireland, Vodafone said it increased service revenue on the back of “a higher average customer base” and annual contractual price increases which have hit customers with hikes of 3 per cent on top of the consumer price index during the course of their contracted term. It added 30,000 mobile contract customers during the period.

Germany is the group’s biggest market and chief executive Margherita Della Valle said Vodafone was delivering growth in all of its markets across Europe after her decision to sell its struggling operations in Spain and Italy, and was growing across Africa as well.

Shares in Vodafone, which have fallen 22 per cent in the last 12 months, rose 3.5 per cent in early deals to 72.5 pence.

The British company posted core earnings of €11.02 billion, in line with forecasts, and adjusted free cash flow of €2.6 billion, ahead of market expectations of €2.44 billion for the year to end-March.

When it announced the Italian deal in March, Vodafone said it would halve its dividend to 4.5 cents a share for the year that started in April, reflecting the lower cash flow from its smaller footprint, and buy back shares worth €4 billion.

On Tuesday it said it expected core earnings this year to be broadly flat at around €11 billion, while free cash flow would be at least €2.4 billion, slightly ahead of current market forecasts.

Germany returned to growth with service revenue increasing by 0.2 per cent for the full year and 0.6 per cent for the fourth quarter, the company said, but adjusted core earnings dropped by 5.8 per cent due to higher energy and other inflationary costs.

“Much more still needs to be done in the year ahead,” Della Valle said.

“We will step up investment in our customer experience, improve our underlying performance in Germany and accelerate our momentum in Business, whilst also continuing to simplify our operations.” – Reuters

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