Vodafone share price falls despite return to growth in the fourth quarter of 2014

Jessica Morris
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Vodafone returned to growth in the fourth quarter (Source: Getty)

The figures

Britain's biggest telecoms group said that group revenue rose 10 per cent on a reported basis to £42.2bn for the year ending 31 March.

While group organic revenue was down 0.8 per cent, Vodafone said it returned to growth in the fourth quarter, rising 0.1 per cent "reflecting a steady recovery in Europe and continued good growth in Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific".

Nonetheless shares in the company were trading down 2.7 per cent to 227p per share this afternoon.

Why it's interesting

Although the growth is small, it is being seen as a significant step forward for the telecoms group. The results suggest the multi-billion upgrade of its infrastructure across Europe - codenamed Project Spring - is starting to bear fruit, and comes on the back of a number of analysts upgrading the stock in recent months.

There's also talk more merger and acquisition activity could be on the cards some time in the future. Vodafone is said to be eyeing up John Malone’s Liberty Global, a deal that would give it control of Virgin Media as well as a number of other European cable assets.

What Vodafone said

Chief executive Vittorio Colao said:

We have seen increasing signs of stabilisation in many of our European markets, supported by improvements in our commercial execution and very strong demand for data.

In fixed line, revenue trends are improving supported by accelerating customer growth, and our recent cable acquisitions provide a strong platform for further growth.

In emerging markets, our good growth trend has continued, driven by rising data penetration and leading network quality and distribution.

In short

Vodafone's massive investments are finally starting to pay off, but it still has a long journey ahead of it.

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