Vodafone cuts dividend after swinging to €7.6bn annual loss

Mobile phone giant Vodafone has slashed its shareholder dividend payout as it revealed the group swung to a mammoth  €7.6bn annual loss.

The group said its full-year dividend has been cut to 9c a share, down from 15c a share the previous year, in what marked a stinging blow to investors.

It came as Vodafone swung deeply into the red over the year to March 31.

Vodafone saw group annual revenues fall 6.2% to a lower-than-expected €43.7bn.

Underlying earnings fell 4.5% to €14.1bn, though the group said this marked 3.1% growth on a so-called organic basis.

Vodafone forecast underlying earnings in the range of €13.8bn to €14.2bn over 2019-20, which it said implied “low single digit” growth on an organic basis.

Nick Read, group chief executive of Vodafone, said: “The group is at a key point of transformation – deepening customer engagement, accelerating digital transformation, radically simplifying our operations, generating better returns from our infrastructure assets and continuing to optimise our portfolio.

“To support these goals and to rebuild headroom, the board has made the decision to rebase the dividend, helping us to reduce debt and deliver to the low end of our target range in the next few years.”

The figures follow Vodafone’s announcement late on Monday that it had sold its New Zealand mobile business for 3.4 billion New Zealand dollars to a consortium of infrastructure investors.

- Press Association

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