Vodafone raises forecast after £3bn boost

City A.M. Reporter
Vodafone, the world's largest mobile operator by revenue, raised its full-year outlook and said
it would receive a £3.1bn payment from Japan's SoftBank in a boost to the firm after some investor complaints.

The company also said it would push the sales of data plans and the disposal of non-core assets as it refreshed its strategy after some investors complained that the firm's ownership of a host of non-strategic minority assets damaged the overall value.

The payments from the mobile phone carrier SoftBank, had not been mentioned by many analysts in the build up to the highly awaited announcement and are likely to be taken well.

SoftBank purchased Vodafone Japan in 2006. Vodafone said it would sell to SoftBank its interests which were originally received as part of the sale.

A first tranche of £1.6bn will be received in December 2010 and used to pay down debt.

Shares in Vodafone have risen more than 16 percent since the company announced its intention to update its strategy, with much of those gains coming since it sold its 3.2 per cent stake in China Mobile for $6.6bn in September.

Vodafone said it would look to generate free cash flow or liquidity from other non-controlled assets, building on the sale of the China Mobile stake and SoftBank.

The pending strategy update had overshadowed the build up to results, which were solid, with first half total revenues up 1.8 percent organically to £22.6bn

Core earnings were down 2.8 percent on an organic basis to £7.4bn, compared with a forecast of 7.3 billion pounds. Organic service revenue, which is made up of revenue related to ongoing services, was up 1.7 percent and ahead of a Reuters poll predicting 1.4 per cent.

Vodafone raised its forecast for full-year adjusted operating profit to £12.2bn. It had said in May it would target a range of £11.2 to £12bn.