Vodafone sees sales growth accelerate

Vodafone said an acceleration in quarterly sales growth should continue through the year, showing its recovery is moving on to a stronger footing and boosting its shares yesterday.

The world’s second-largest mobile operator by customers, which reported a return to quarterly sales growth for the first time in nearly three years in May, has been hit by weak consumer spending in its big European markets and price cuts imposed by regulators around the world.

But a steady recovery in Europe, helped by consumers paying for superfast 4G tariffs and the offer of new services such as pay-TV, helped the British firm to beat forecasts for first-quarter underlying sales growth yesterday.

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“We ... expect the second quarter to be similar to the current one and then to have another improvement in the second half of the year,” chief executive Vittorio Colao said

Three-month service revenue, a key measure that strips out acquisitions and currency moves, grew 0.8 per cent on an organic basis, ahead of the 0.1 per cent it recorded in the fourth quarter and ahead of analysts’ average forecast of 0.5 per cent.

Vodafone, with 449 million customers around the world in markets ranging from Albania, Australia and Turkey, said service revenue in Europe fell 1.5 per cent, marking an improvement on the 2.6 per cent fall from the previous three months.