Vodafone says its financial performance was “resilient” during the first half of 2021, with strong demand for its mobile services offsetting the inevitable impacts of coronavirus pandemic.
Revenues fell by 2.3% to €21.4 billion during the first six months of the year but this was in line with its expectations. Reduced roaming revenues and lower handset sales attributable to lockdown and travel restrictions offset strong underlying momentum, it said.
The company recorded a €1.6 billion profit, boosted by €1 billion gained from the merger of its Australian business. This compares favourably to the €1.9 billion loss it posted during the same period last year – a figure that was affected by costs related to Vodafone Idea in India.
Vodafone CEO Nick Read told investors it was pleased with the results, citing improvements in customer loyalty, network expansion and the acceleration of efforts to achieve €1.2 billion in cost savings over a three-year period.
As much as €300 million was saved during the past six months, bringing the total saved up to €1.1 billion, while 5G is now available in 127 cities in 9 European countries.
“The results demonstrate the success of our strategic priorities to date, namely increasing customer loyalty, growing our fixed broadband base, driving digitisation to simplify the company and capture significant cost savings, and deliver 5G efficiently through network sharing,” he said.
“COVID-19 and the reduction in roaming revenues, through the significant reduction in international travel, is currently obscuring our underlying commercial progress, with Q2 service revenue growing by 1.5% excluding roaming.
“We are now two years into our longer-term strategy to transform Vodafone into a business that enables a digital society, generating both sustainable growth and attractive returns. We are executing at pace, but there remains more to be done to achieve our goals. Now, more than ever, the connectivity services we provide are critical for society and the demand is growing for our services. I am proud of how our dedicated employees have worked tirelessly around the clock to keep everyone connected.”