Vodafone dials up €6.3bn annual net loss

2017-05-16 15:44
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London - Vodafone logged on Tuesday a large annual net loss after slashing the value of its troubled Indian division, but underlying earnings soared on a solid European performance.

The British mobile phone giant posted a loss of €6.3bn for the 12 months to March, after a net loss of €5.4bn in the previous financial year, it said in a statement.

The loss was driven by taxation changes and €3.7bn impairment at its Indian division - which Vodafone is spinning off into a joint venture.

However, underlying or operating profit excluding exceptional items almost tripled to €3.7bn on cost-cutting - and a solid showing in Europe.

Vodafone shares rallied 4% after it also ramped up the shareholder dividend by 2%, taking the total pay-outs to 14.77 euro cents.

"Our focus on excellence in customer experience has enabled further improvements in our overall commercial and financial performance during the year," said chief executive Vittorio Colao.

Sales declined 4.4% to €47.6bn on adverse foreign exchange movements.

Second biggest player

Vodafone is the world's second-largest mobile-phone carrier in terms of subscriber numbers, trailing global leader China Mobile.

In the first half, Vodafone initially took non-cash impairment of €5.0bn on its Indian activities and blamed a sharp increase in competition.

However in March, Vodafone announced the merger of its Indian unit with Idea Cellular in order to create India's largest telecoms operator and fight ultra-competitive new player Reliance Jio.

Following the deal, Vodafone added on Tuesday it had partially reversed the Indian impairment - but it still stood at €3.7bn.

Colao has sought to reshape the business following his appointment in 2008.

The group offloaded its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless in 2015 for a colossal $130bn, one of the biggest transactions in global corporate history.

In 2016, Vodafone sold its Dutch fixed-line business Vodafone Thuis to Germany's T-Mobile for an undisclosed amount.

The sale followed the merger of Vodafone Netherlands with Liberty Global's Dutch division Ziggo into a joint venture.

And earlier this year, Vodafone announced the creation of its Indian joint venture.

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