Vodafone says trading on track after ‘resilient’ half-year despite Covid-19

Telecoms giant Vodafone has hailed “resilient” trading for the past half-year, as it posted higher operating profits.

It told investors on Monday that its performance was “in line with expectations” over the period to September 30.

It said revenues fell by 2.3% to 21.4 billion euros (£19.2 billion) as “good underlying momentum” was offset by the impact of Covid-19 on roaming, while it also sold fewer handsets.

Vodafone also revealed a jump in operating profits to 3.4 billion euros (£3 billion), from 577 million euros (£517 million) for the same period last year, while its adjusted earnings dipped due to lower revenues.

The group held firm on its trading guidance for the rest of the year as it hailed an improvement in mobile contract loyalty from customers.

Vodafone said it has made more progress with the long-term growth strategy it set out two years ago to improve its performance.

As a result, it said it has launched 5G in 127 cities across nine of its European markets.

The group said it has also accelerated its cost-saving efforts, in light of the pandemic, resulting in a 300 million euro (£268.8 million) reduction in costs across its European business.

Vodafone is also “on track” to complete the spin-off of its European mast business, Vantage Towers, in the first quarter of 2021.

Nick Read, group chief executive, of Vodafone, said: “Today’s results underline increased confidence in our full year outlook.

“We are reporting a resilient first half performance and we continue to see good commercial momentum across the group.

“The results demonstrate the success of our strategic priorities to date, namely increasing customer loyalty, growing our fixed broadband base, driving digitisation to simplify the company and capture significant cost savings, and deliver 5G efficiently through network sharing.”