Vodafone says first quarter looking good

Vodafone’s interim management statement for the first quarter of 2009 shows the company achieved group revenue of £10,743 million, up 9.3%. Organic service revenue was down 2.1%, but Group data revenue hit £888 million, up 19.4% on an organic basis.

The company has free cash flow of £1,896 million, up 21.2%; net debt at 30 June 2009 was £31.2 billion.

Vodafone said first quarter EBITDA margin trends were consistent with the management’s full year expectations, and its cost reduction programme is on track.

The proportionate mobile customer base is 315.3 million; there were 8 million net additions during the quarter.

In Europe, service revenue rose by 4.4%, driven by foreign exchange. Organic service revenue was down 4.4% reflecting the economy and mobile termination rates, while organic data revenue rose by 17.8%. Organic fixed line revenue was up 5.7%; Spain was up 15.4%; Italy was up 18.5%.

In Africa and Central Europe, service revenue was up 26.3% including the Vodacom acquisition, while organic service revenue was down 2.6%. Vodacom organic growth of 5.2% was offset by weakness in Central Europe.

In Asia Pacific and the Middle East, service revenue rose by 21.8%, organic service revenue was up by 14.3%, and Indian service revenue growth hit 23.0%.

Vittorio Colao, chief executive at Vodafone, commented: “In the first quarter the service revenue trend in Europe was consistent with the previous quarter and we continued to see good growth in India and South Africa. Our total communications strategy is delivering well, with organic data revenue up 19% and organic fixed line revenue 7% ahead of the comparative period. Free cash flow generation was strong at £1.9 billion, up 21%. The Group has reaffirmed its guidance for the full year.”

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