'Difficult' Economic Conditions in Europe Depress Revenue at Vodafone

By Scott, Mark | International New York Times, February 7, 2014 | Go to article overview

'Difficult' Economic Conditions in Europe Depress Revenue at Vodafone


Scott, Mark, International New York Times


The British cellphone carrier said it still expected to generate operating profit of 5 billion pounds for its full year, which ends in March.

Vodafone reported weak quarterly sales figures on Thursday, evidence that the British cellphone carrier was still suffering from Europe's financial problems.

The company said its service revenue, when adjusted for foreign exchange movements and other one-time charges, fell to 9.9 billion pounds, or roughly $16.1 billion, in the last three months of 2013, a 4.8 percent decline from a year earlier. Service revenue means sales from voice, data and messaging services.

The financial update did not include a report on Vodafone's profit, though the company said it still expected to generate operating profit of Pounds 5 billion for its full year, which ends in March.

Vodafone, which plans to complete the $130 billion sale of its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless later this month, said its European operations continued to struggle as a result of the economic woes on the Continent, particularly in Southern Europe, where countries like Spain are grappling with double-digit unemployment.

In contrast, Vodafone's smaller but fast-growing businesses in emerging markets like India reported increases in quarterly revenue, as a rising number of consumers spent more on voice and data packages for their cellphones.

"In Europe, conditions are still difficult," Vodafone's chief executive, Vittorio Colao, said in a statement. "Our emerging market businesses are growing strongly, supported by consistent execution and accelerating demand for data."

When adjusted for one-time costs and foreign currency changes, Vodafone's service revenue in Europe fell 9.6 percent, to Pounds 6.5 billion, in the last quarter of 2013. The company's service revenue in emerging economies rose 5.5 percent, to Pounds 3.2 billion, over the period.

Vodafone, one of world's largest cellphone carriers, and its European rivals, like Orange of France, are facing regulatory challenges as policy makers push for increased competition among the Continent's operators. …

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