Vodafone posts US$19.3B loss, promises growth this year

Vodafone Group PLC, the world's largest mobile-phone operator, posted a massive loss in its preliminary yearly financial report, saying this was primarily due to write-offs and forecasting double-digit revenue growth for its current fiscal year, it said Tuesday.

Vodafone reported a pretax loss of £13.5 billion (US$19.3 billion as of March 31, the last day of the period being reported), compared to a loss of £8.1 billion last year, it said in a statement.

Proportionate earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITA), calculated according to U.K. generally accepted accounting practices (GAAP), rose 44 percent to £10.1 billion, compared to £7 billion in the previous year, Vodafone said.

Turnover for the group was £22.8 billion, compared to £15 billion, Vodafone said. Data revenue increased by 87 percent to £2.1 billion, Vodafone said.

When using U.S. GAAP, Vodafone posted a net loss of £16.7 billion, compared to a loss in the previous year of £7.1 billion, while it reported a basic loss per ordinary share for the year of £0.25 compared to a loss the year before of £0.12 per share, the company said.

Revenue stated in accordance with U.S. GAAP was £17.6 billion for the year, compared with £1.1 billion last year, the company said.

The £6 billion write-off that caused the large loss came mainly from Vodafone's fixed-line holdings in Arcor AG -- the German fixed-line business gained as part of its acquisition of Mannesmann AG early April 2000 -- and Japan Telecom Co. Ltd., as well as from Mexican mobile operator Grupo Iusacell SA de C.V. and China Mobile Ltd., the company said. In November, Vodafone announced it was writing off £4.7 billion. [See, "Vodafone writes off US$9.9B, signs up more users," Nov. 13, 2001.]Vodafone did not write off any of its controlled mobile assets, stating that the company expected strong revenue growth from those businesses, the company said.

The company reported a net debt of £12 billion, compared with last year's net debt of £6.7 billion, Vodafone said.

Vodafone said that its global customer base grew by 22 percent for the year to 101.1 million "proportionate registered customers." That figure includes customers that Vodafone has gained through its stakes in businesses that it owns outright.

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