Vodafone buoyed by customer growth in the UK and Africa despite slowdown in telecoms giant’s key German market
- The telecoms giant’s total revenue grew by 2.7% on an organic basis to €11.28bn
- In Germany, the company lost a lot of cable broadband and television customers
- Vodafone benefited from new roaming fees for UK customers travelling in the EU
Vodafone anticipates hitting yearly guidance following a substantial bump in trade across the UK and Africa during the first quarter.
Total revenue at the telecommunications giant grew by 2.7 per cent on an organic basis to €11.28billion in the three months ending 30 June, when measured against the equivalent period last year.
Growth was held back by the loss of tens of thousands of cable broadband and television customers in Germany, its biggest market, as a result of regulatory changes introduced in December.
Expansion: Total revenue at the telecommunications giant grew by 2.7 per cent on an organic basis to €11.28billion in the three months ending 30 June
Yet this was offset by a strong performance in the UK, where service revenue jumped 6.5 per cent on the back of increasing the price of annual contracts, and adding 18,000 more mobile customers and 22,000 extra broadband subscribers.
The FTSE 100 group has also benefited from being able to reintroduce new roaming charges for Britons travelling throughout the European Union, as well as higher revenue at its mobile towers arm.
Another strong result was noted in the firm’s South African division Vodacom, which was buoyed by rising demand for insurance services and an ongoing surge in people using the money transfer platform M-Pesa.
Consequently, the Newbury-based business expects to report adjusted underlying earnings of between €15billion and €15.5billion and adjusted free cash flow of around €5.3billion for the current financial year.
Its chief executive Nick Read said: ‘Whilst we are not immune to the current macroeconomic challenges, we’re on track to deliver financial results for the year in line with our guidance.
‘Our near-term focus on our operational and portfolio priorities remains unchanged.
‘We’ve made good progress towards stabilising our commercial performance in Germany, and we continue to actively pursue opportunities with Vantage Towers and to strengthen our market positions in Europe.’
Vodafone’s results come ahead of its annual general meeting tomorrow, where Read could face backlash over his proposed £4.1million compensation package, a hike of approximately £600,000 from the prior year.
Shareholder adviser PIRC has urged investors to vote against the proposed payout, saying it was ‘not acceptable,’ given how much the company’s share price has declined while he has been in charge.
Since taking over from Vittorio Colao in October 2018, Vodafone shares have fallen by about a fifth, while in the past five years, they have plunged by 42.6 per cent. On Monday, they remained flat at £1.29.
However, two other institutional advisers, ISS and Glass Lewis, have expressed support for Read’s prospective remuneration package and are optimistic that an overwhelming majority of shareholders will vote in favour.
Victoria Scholar, the head of investment at Interactive Investor, said: ‘Long-term investors in Vodafone have had a difficult time with the stock, which has struggled ever since the peak in 2015.’
Yet she noted that ‘the stock is attempting to reverse at least some of those losses with shares outperforming the broader market since the lows in March, rallying around 10 per cent off the lows.’