London: British-based mobile phone giant Vodafone Group Plc raised forecasts for full-year operating profit, sales and cashflow on 13 November 2007 after a solid set of half-year results, sending its shares climbing.
Vodafone, the world’s largest cell phone group by revenue, nudged up its forecast range for adjusted operating profit to £9.5 billion-9.9 billion (Rs77,400 crore-80,600 crore) on revenues of 34.5 billion to 35.1 billion pounds, on the back of strong emerging markets and stable European growth.
Pressure had grown on Vodafone to upgrade forecasts after Spanish-based Telefonica triggered a re-rating of the entire sector with an upbeat four-year outlook and France Telecom raised its 2007 cash-generation and margin targets last month.
As some analysts started rejigging their models, Vodafone’s shares climbed as much as 4% higher. The stock, which hit 52-week highs of almost 197 pence last month, pared gains to stand 2.6% stronger at 186.7 pence by 0840 GMT.
The company posted first-half earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £6.565 billion and operating profit of £5.2 billion on revenues of £17 billion.
EMERGING MARKETS SHINE
The company, whose customer base now stands at 241 million, said strong revenue growth of almost 40% from emerging market operations in India — which contributed its first full quarter — Turkey, Egypt and South Africa again bolstered pedestrian but solid growth in Europe of 2%.
In competitive Europe, good revenue growth in Spain and Britain was offset by declines in Germany and Italy.
But Vodafone’s business in India, where it owns a controlling stake in one of the country’s top mobile phone operators, Vodafone Essar, saw revenues rise by a solid 53 percent — although this missed some market expectations of up to 60 percent growth.
Chief Executive Arun Sarin noted the company was winning 1.6 million new customers per month and had seen its customer base swell to 35 million in India alone. Vodafone also saw revenues grow by over 33% in Egypt, 24% in Romania and by 19.6% in South Africa.