Vodafone said its earnings growth would accelerate this year after a programme to improve its networks boosted demand in Europe and helped the group to return to underlying growth in 2016 revenue and core earnings for the first time since 2008.
The world’s second-largest mobile phone operator reported full-year revenue of 41 billion pounds ($59 billion), up 2.3 per cent on an underlying basis and broadly meeting market forecasts, reflecting a better performance in South Africa, Egypt and Turkey.
It posted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of 11.6 billion pounds, slightly shy of forecasts but up 2.7 per cent and said it expected this rate to accelerate to 3-6 per cent this year.
The return to growth in Europe – the first since the end of 2010 – came as Vodafone reached the end of its Project Spring multi-billion pound investment programme to improve its networks.
Chief Executive Vittorio Colao said the programme had transformed the quality of the group’s technology and customer experience.
“I am confident we will sustain our positive momentum in the coming year, allowing us to maintain attractive returns for our shareholders,” he said on Tuesday.