Spain-based telecom group Telefonica has revealed a 2% year-on-year decline in revenue for the first six months of its 2009 fiscal year, with the drop attributed to the general economic downturn in Europe, coupled with the negative impact of exchange rate fluctuations. Revenue for the six-month period stood at EUR27.59 billion (USD36.84 billion) compared to EUR28.15 a year earlier, with the group’s Spanish and European units reporting revenue drops of 5.6% and 6.2% respectively. Strong performance from Telefonica’s Latin American operations, however, helped to offset the decline, with a reported 4.2% year-on-year increase in revenue in that region to EUR10.97 billion. Net profit meanwhile remained relatively stable, with Telefonica posting a 0.7% increase compared to 1H 2008 at EUR3.61 billion. On the back of the results the group has reiterated its full year guidance, and now expects full-year operating profit before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) to increase between 1% and 3%; at the end of the first half OIBDA was down 1.7% against the same period last year at EUR10.94 billion.
More positively, Telefonica revealed that its total subscriber base, including retail fixed line voice, mobile and broadband customers, as well as wholesale clients, had risen 7.4% y-o-y to just under 264 million. Retail mobile customers remain the largest sector for the group, breaking the 200 million barrier by the end of the reported period. Strong growth in broadband sign-ups has also continued, with more than 13 million users at end-June 2009, a 14% annual increase.