Rabu, 23 Juli 2008

LONDON (AFP) - British mobile phone giant Vodafone said on Tuesday that full-year sales would be at the lower end of expectations because of difficult trading conditions, despite a rise in first-quarter sales.

Vodafone said in a statement that full-year sales were forecast to be at the bottom end of its guidance range of between 39.8 billion pounds and 40.7 billion pounds that was outlined in May.

The company partly blamed the outlook on its first-quarter performance, recent economic weakness and lower-than-expected equipment revenue.

The news sent Vodafones share price tumbling by 11.62 percent to 131.90 pence in morning trade on Londons FTSE 100 leading shares index, which in turn was down 1.15 percent.

However, the group added that sales jumped by 19.1 percent to 9.8 billion pounds (12.4 billion euros, 19.6 billion dollars) in the three months to the end of June, compared with the same period of 2007.

In the first quarter, Vodafone said that sales from its Emerging Markets, Asia Pacific and Affiliates (EMAPA) division surged by 30.5 percent to 2.64 billion pounds, driven by Indian revenue growth of 50 percent.

The groups customer base swelled by 8.5 million to 269 million people in the quarter.

"Notwithstanding this more challenging operating environment, we continue to benefit from a diversity of assets and services, with strong revenue growth in EMAPA and another good quarter of data revenue growth offsetting weakness in Spain," said Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin in the release.

"Whilst we expect revenue around the bottom of the outlook range, our continued focus on cost reduction enables us to reiterate our operating profit and cash flow guidance for the year."

In recent years, Vodafone has expanded into emerging markets across Africa and Asia, as it looks to offset flagging sales and fierce competition in maturing Western markets.


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