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Vodafone rises on cost-cutting steps and unchanged dividend despite posting a loss

British telecom major Vodafone Group (Nasdaq: VOD, LSE: VOD.L) reported a loss of EUR7.8 billion for the six months ended September 30, 2018 period, hurt by the disposal of Vodafone India and impairment charges. Revenue slipped 5.5% to EUR21.8 billion compared to the year-ago period.

As the new Chief Executive Nick Read assured that firm steps would be taken to cut the company’s costs and the announcement of maintaining the dividend sent the company’s shares up about 7% in the London Stock Exchange and about 8% in Nasdaq as of 10:30 AM ET.

Diluted loss per share was 29.00 euro cents compared to earnings per share of 4.03 euro cents in the period ended September 30, 2017. Adjusted EPS, which excludes impairment charges and the results of Vodafone India, slumped 43.7% year-over-year to 3.56 euro cents.

The telecom operator incurred an impairment charge of EUR3.5 billion as a result of its investments in Spain, Romania and Vodafone Idea. In August, the Group combined its subsidiary Vodafone India with Idea Cellular and created Vodafone Idea Limited. The merger resulted in a loss of EUR3.4 billion for the first half ending September 30, 2018.

The Board proposed a total dividend of 15.07 euro cents per share for the current financial year, in-line with the FY18 dividend, with an interim dividend of 4.84 euro cents, which is also stable on a year-over-year basis.

The Group chief executive Nick Read said, “Looking ahead, my new strategic priorities focus on driving greater consistency of commercial execution, accelerating digital transformation, radically simplifying our operating model and generating better returns from our infrastructure assets.” He also added that these measures are expected to drive revenue growth, reduce churn and lower the company’s European operating expenses by at least EUR1.2 billion by FY2021.

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In Nasdaq, shares of Vodafone have given a negative return of 37% so far in this year and 30% in the past 52 weeks.

When Vodafone Idea Limited reports its first-ever quarterly results after the merger on Wednesday, November 14, analysts expect the telco to post a loss, hurt by the lower subscriber additions and costs. Vodafone Idea stock was down slightly both in BSE and NSE during Tuesday’s regular trading session.

 

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