Vodafone posts biggest ever UK company loss

The loss, which equates to £37m a day, was a result of paying over the odds for acquisitions made during the telecoms boom.

The company said the acquisitions in question were those of Japan Telecom and J-Phone, and its £113bn takeover of German industrial group Mannesmann two years ago.

But it was not all bad news, Vodafone reported that proportionate revenues increased by 44% to just over £10m and operating cash flow was up by 60% to 11.92p.

The company’s profit for the year ending 31 March 2002 before tax and one-off costs was £6.12bn, compared with £4.03bn a year earlier. Turnover rose 52% to £22.85bn, and Vodafone’s full-year dividend was up 5% to 1.47p per share.

The company also said it had seen continued growth in its customer base, with a 22% increase in proportionate registered customers to 101.1 million.

Chief executive Sir Christopher Gent was upbeat: ‘The past year has seen the group successfully execute its adjusted strategy, delivering very strong operational performance and exceptional financial results, including the generation of substantial free cashflow.’

Gent added that in the current year, he envisages net customer growth of just below 10%, allowing for the expected disconnections of non-revenue generating handsets, and a ‘modest but real’ improvement in average revenue per user in most of the company’s major European markets.

‘This combination should lead to double-digit revenue growth,’ he added.

‘We have every confidence in the continued growth potential of the business. This year will see many exciting new developments which will sustain the long-term growth of Vodafone in the years to come.’

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