The worlds largest mobile-phone operator, Vodafone, has today provided a weaker than expected update on its sales performance in the three months ended on the past 31st of December. That due to weakness in some European periphery markets, such as Italy and Spain.
The company, however, has reiterated previous guidance for adjusted operating profits and free cash flow.
The groups service revenues grew by 0.9% on the year in the final three months of 2011, in organic terms, reaching £10.61bn. That was below the 1.1% rise expected by analysts.
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
In greater detail, and also in organic terms, group service revenues fell 1.7% in Europe, to £7.4bn, but rose 7.6% in the Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region, £3.61bn.
The companys business continued to grow in Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Turkey. However, in Italy service revenues fell 4.9% following a contraction of 3.0% in the previous quarter, due to "macroeconomic challenges and competitive pricing pressures in voice and messaging services."
Spain also weighed on the firms results although the country did deliver a second quarter of sequential improvement in the service revenue trend, which increased to -8.8% on the quarter versus the -9.3% rate seen in the previous three months.
Adjusted operating profit for the current financial year is expected to be in the £11.4 - £11.8bn range communicated in November 2011. The firm also expects its full year EBITDA margin to decline at a lower rate than that experienced in the prior financial year.
Free cash flow is still expected to be in the range of £6.0 - £6.5bn, excluding the £2.8 bn dividend received from Verizon Wireless in January 2012.
According to Vittorio Colao, the companys chief executive, "we are continuing to make progress in the key strategic areas of data, enterprise and emerging markets. Despite the further deterioration of the southern European economic environment during the quarter, our broad geographic mix is delivering a resilient overall performance. Our improved value perception, strong cash generation and healthy balance sheet give us confidence that we can continue to execute well."
Should your business invest in a VoIP phone service?
Here's what you need to know about VOIP (voice over IP) services before landlines go digital in 2025.
By David Prosser Published
M&S is back in fashion: but how long can this success last?
M&S has exceeded expectations in the past few years, but can it keep up the momentum?
By Rupert Hargreaves Published