The operator group’s organic earnings rose 1.4% in the second quarter, but it reported a loss of almost €1.9 billion in its half-year results.
The loss was largely due to India’s decision to change the way it charges telcos for using airwaves, but was offset to some degree, with Vodafone benefiting from its acquisition of Liberty Global’s cable assets in the German market and selling of its business in New Zealand, from which Vodafone made €18.4 billion.
However, net debt almost doubled 50%to €48.1 billion propelled by the German acquisition.
Vodafone returned to growth in its second quarter, posting a 1.4% rise in adjusted earnings before interest. tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda).
This helped it raise full-year earnings guidance to between €14.8 billion and €15billion, up from its previous range of €13.8 billion to €14.2 billion.
Group revenue rose 0.4% to €21.94 billon but free cash flow fell by 94% to €34 million, from €566 million at the same point last year.
View from the top
Group 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.
“We have now secured network sharing agreements across most of our major European markets, and we recently announced a major long-term wholesale partnership with Virgin Media in the UK, in order to improve the utilisation of our network assets.
“And we expect our European Tower company to be operational by May next year, enabling us to continue to unlock the significant value embedded in our tower infrastructure.”