Vodafone sales drop 4.2%

Vodafone sales fall by 4.2% to £44.4bn amid "tough economic conditions" in Europe

Vodafone reported a 4.2% drop in sales to £44.4bn in its full-year results amid "tough economic conditions" in Europe.

Vodafone also saw profits plunge from £7bn this time last year to £673m, as the company had to write down the value of its businesses in Italy and Spain by a further £1.8bn, taking the total write-down for the year to £7.7bn.

“We have faced headwinds from a combination of continued tough economic conditions, particularly in Southern Europe, and an adverse European regulatory environment," said Vodafone group chief executive Vittorio Colao.

Organic services revenue in Northern and Central Europe was down 0.2% year on year. "Underlying performance in the major markets of Germany, the UK and the Netherlands, while robust compared with our competitors, weakened in the second half of the year, reflecting increased competition and some macroeconomic pressure," the company said in a statement.

Regulation will remain a key concern for Vodafone over the next year. "However, this effect should reduce substantially in the 2015 financial year based on current regulatory glide paths. We also await clarity on EU fibre regulation, where we are supportive of the pro-investment stance, subject to equality of access and margin squeeze provisions which are enforceable at the country level," it said.

Vodafone said it will develop its machine-to-machine business unit as part of its strategy over the next two years. It will also extend its 3G footprint at 43.2Mbps and LTE coverage across its five major European markets to 80% and 40% respectively by March 2015.

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