Vodafone is a big gainer on revenue rise

Steve Dinneen
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VODAFONE’S sales jumped 10 per cent in the final quarter of last year, causing its shares to soar to the top of the FTSE 100 gainers list yesterday.

Group revenue rose to £11.5bn – up from £10.47bn the year before. UK revenue was down by 4.9 per cent, compared to the 5.7 per cent decline reported in the previous quarter. The group did not report profits.

In Europe service revenue fell 3.2 per cent on 2008 figures, an improvement of 1.4 per cent on the three months ending last November.

Its Italian business performed well and trends in Germany were positive compared to the previous quarter. Spain was the company’s worst major European performer.

Vodafone was bullish about the figures, which do not include the impact of the iPhone, which shifted 100,000 units for the company in its first week on sale.

Chief executive Vittorio Colao said he is “very interested” with the new iPad but would not confirm whether Vodafone had entered discussions with Apple. Yesterday City A.M. reported O2 was in talks with Apple over carrying the device.

Vodafone says its future lies with smartphones after total data revenue surpassed the £1bn mark for the first time. Its percentage of sales that are smartphones increased five per cent to 25 per cent.
Next year it hopes to increase this to up to 40 per cent.

It was less optimistic about the restart of full dividend payments, saying the company was focusing on debt repayment. A spokesman said Vodafone hoped to be in a robust position by 2012. Colao reiterated his concerns about the spectrum ownership a merged Orange and T-Mobile would command in the UK.

The stock closed up 3.6 per cent at 139.3p.