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Vodafone cuts losses

Europe still a tough nut to crack, though

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Vodafone Group PLC said this morning that it has met expectations for its most recent financial year but conceded that market conditions remained difficult in Europe.

The mobile phone giant today posted results for the year ended 31 March 2007, which showed revenues up 6 per cent on the year to £31.1bn. The company managed to trim its operating loss from last year’s £14bn to a slightly more platable £1.6bn. This left it with a pre-tax loss of £2.3bn.

Vodafone said earnings per share rose 11.4 per cent to 11.26 pence, while total dividends increased by a healthy 11.4 per cent to 6.76 pence.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was said to be up to £11.960bnn.

Vodafone said it expected group revenue for the coming year to be in the range of £33.3bn to £34.1bn, with adjusted operating profit in the range of £9.3bn to £9.8bn.

The firm said it was battling strong competition in key European markets.

"We expect market conditions to remain challenging for the year ahead in Europe, notwithstanding continued positive operating trends in data revenue and voice usage," said Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin in a statement accompanying the published results.

He added that Vodafone has signed agreements with Yahoo! in the UK, as well as providers in Germany and Italy with banner and content advertising seen as an important revenue stream for the business over the coming year.

Data revenue was said to have grown 30.1 per cent in the past year with the firm ramping up its Vodafone Live! service to integrate mobile and PC environments.

The firm attributed significant growth in emerging markets to the acquisition of Hutchison Essar in India, and Sarin said: "A key priority for the year ahead is to continue the expansion of the network and capture the growth opportunity in the market."

Vodafone topped the FTSE 100 index this morning with gains of 3.7 per cent. Shares are currently trading at 157.6 pence per share, up 4.10 per cent.

According to Reuters, traders have today been talking up the possibility of a bid for the firm from AT&T. However, Vodafone refused to comment.

More from Vodafone here. ®

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