Vodafone Group’s financial results for the first half of this year are in line with the company’s expectations, while figures from Ireland position the brand as the mobile market leader.
Vodafone Group plc’s half-year results for the period ended 30 September 2013 report EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) on a management basis down 4.1pc to stg£6.6bn.
Adjusted operating profit on a management basis rose 0.5pc to stg£5.7bn, while free cash flow on a management basis reached stg£2bn.
Vodafone’s full-year guidance forecasts adjusted operating profit of around stg£5bn and free cash flow between stg£4.5bn and stg£5bn.
An interim dividend per share of 3.53 pence represents an increase of 8pc year-on-year, and the company announced its intention to pay full-year dividends per share of 11 pence.
Group revenue on a statutory basis increased by 2.5pc year-on-year, driven by the acquisition of CWW and TelstraClear in the prior year, to stg£19.1bn, with service revenue of stg£17.5bn (a decline of 2.3pc on an organic basis). On a management basis, group service revenue was stg£20.0bn, a decline of 4.2pc on an organic basis.
Profit for the financial period from continuing operations on a statutory basis increased by stg£20bn to stg£15.7bn.
Mature market challenges
“Our emerging markets businesses are performing very well, driven by rapidly increasing smartphone penetration and data usage,” said group chief executive Vittorio Colao.
“In mature markets, our performance reflects more challenging conditions, which we continue to mitigate through ongoing actions to improve our operating model and cost efficiency. This rigorous approach, plus our substantial investments in Vodafone Red, 4G and unified communications services – including our recent acquisition of Kabel Deutschland – are laying strong foundations for the future,” he added.
In terms of consumers, Vodafone now has 7.5m Vodafone Red customers and expects this to grow to 11m-12m by March 2014. Smartphone penetration in Europe is now at 39pc and and data usage continues to grow, with average usage per device now at 400MB per month.
Vodafone has also launched 4G services in 14 markets, with Ireland recently joining that line-up.
With a total customer base of 2.4m, Vodafone Ireland is the mobile market leader in Ireland, with 2.1m mobile customers.
The number of customers using smartphones on the Vodafone network in Ireland increased by 4.3pc compared to the previous quarter, and almost 70pc of all Vodafone Ireland customers are now using mobile data services.
As well as starting its 4G roll out, Vodafone Ireland completed a network enhancement programme in the south-east in this quarter, and this nationwide programme will eventually see all areas where there are currently voice services receive data, too. The programme also includes voice enhancements to cater for High Definition Voice and advanced coverage.
Vodafone building image by Radu Bercan via Shutterstock