Voda results robust despite euro woes

Steve Dinneen
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THE EUROZONE crisis tainted an otherwise robust set of results for Vodafone, with a £450m writedown on its Greek business helping push profits down 11 per cent.

Vodafone, facing tough comparatives against last year when it booked the sale of its minority shareholding in China Mobile, saw its revenues increase 4.1 per cent to £23.5bn, adding 9.4m new customers to its network.

The company raised its full-year guidance, boosted by a strong performance in emerging markets, which chief executive Vittorio Colao said are an increasingly important part of Vodafone’s business.

He also said the company’s enterprise operations have performed well despite the torrid economic environment.

Overall profits for the first half were £6.68bn, down from £7.54bn last year. Ebitda rose 2.3 per cent to £7.53bn from £7.36bn.

Colao defended his company’s £1.25bn HMRC tax settlement, which critics have suggested should have been closer to £6bn, saying the sum was based on the best advice available and followed years of negotiations.

The Italian chief executive said that, while he is not immediately considering abandoning Vodafone’s UK base, he would be forced to if tax or visa regulations were to become materially worse. He said: “We have to be able to operate on a level playing field with the rest of the world.”