Voda­fone sur­prises with up­beat out­look

Kathimerini English - - Business & Finance -

LON­DON (Reuters) – Voda­fone, the world’s largest mo­bile op­er­a­tor by rev­enue, sur­prised in­vestors with an up­beat out­look for 2012 yes­ter­day af­ter post­ing re­silient re­sults driven by cus­tomers up­grad­ing to smart­phones. An­a­lysts had ex­pected the Bri­tish firm to be more cau­tious af­ter re­cent weak up­dates from ri­vals, but in­stead Voda­fone said it was gain­ing or hold­ing mar­ket share in most of its ma­jor mar­kets and lead­ing the switch to higher tar­iff smart­phones. Rev­enues and ad­justed op­er­at­ing prof­its were both up over 3 per­cent for the full year and free cash flow was com­fort­ably ahead of fore­casts, send­ing shares in the group up 2 per­cent to out­per­form a slightly firmer FTSE 100 In­dex. “Voda­fone’s his­toric per­for­mance as a se­rial un­der-per­former ver­sus peers ap­pears to be a thing of the past,” said Bern­stein an­a­lyst Robin Bienen­stock, adding that it was now out­per­form­ing com­peti­tors in prac­ti­cally ev­ery ma­jor mar­ket in Europe. Voda­fone Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Vit­to­rio Co­lao told re­porters the group was ben­e­fit­ting from its early move into data rev­enues gen­er­ated from In­ter­net ac­cess and the de­vel­op­ment of in­te­grated and tiered pric­ing plans. He said the group was also ex­pected to im­prove fur­ther as cus­tomers in­creas­ingly based their choice of op­er­a­tor on the qual­ity of the net­work. “Con­tin­u­ing net­work in­vest­ment is an im­por­tant dif­fer­en­tia­tor for Voda­fone, im­prov­ing the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence and giv­ing us leader- ship in smart­phone pen­e­tra­tion and in cus­tomer take up of data plans,” he said. “We en­ter the new fi­nan­cial year well po­si­tioned.”

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