UK-based telecoms giant Vodafone Group has published its financial results for the six months ended 30 September 2019, reporting a marginal year-on-year improvement in group revenue on the back of the acquisition of Liberty Global’s assets in Germany and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).
For the six-month period under review Vodafone Group reported a total turnover of EUR21.939 billion (USD24.2 billion), up from EUR21.848 billion in the corresponding period of 2018, while group service revenue totalled EUR18.544 billion, representing reported annual growth of 1.5% – although on an organic basis growth was just 0.3%. Meanwhile, group organic adjusted EBITDA increased by 1.4% on an annualised basis to reach EUR7.105 billion, which it said was supported by a EUR200 million y-o-y reduction in net operating costs in Europe which was only partially offset by its operations in other parts of the world where costs increased, albeit at a slower pace than local inflation. Nonetheless, Vodafone Group posted a loss of EUR1.891 billion for the half year, which it said primarily reflected a loss at its Indian unit Vodafone Idea following ‘an adverse legal judgement against the industry by the Supreme Court’, with this having been only partially offset by a profit on the sale of its New Zealand operations.
In operational terms, Vodafone Group reported a mobile subscriber base totalling 269.218 million as at end-September 2019, down from 275.834 million a year earlier, impacted by the sale of the New Zealand unit which was completed on 31 July 2019. By comparison, Vodafone registered notable growth in fixed broadband sector – bolstered by the aforementioned purchase of Liberty Global’s operations in Germany and CEE – with customer numbers climbing more than 36% y-o-y to 22.734 million at 30 September 2019, up from 16.712 million previously. Similarly, pay-TV accesses surged to 18.042 million from 9.677 million at end-September 2018, although boost to fixed voice lines was far more muted, with the number of telephony subscriber connections increasing a net 741,000 to 15.869 million over the same timeframe.
Commenting on the group’s performance, CEO Nick Read said: ‘I am pleased by the speed at which we are executing on the strategic priorities that we announced this time last year. 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. The consistency of our commercial performance has improved in both regions, and we have made a fast start on integrating the acquired Liberty Global businesses, where we see significant long-term opportunity.’