Vodafone posts narrower losses

Vodafone Group posted a narrower full-year loss on Tuesday and forecast strong growth in emerging markets, pushing its shares to five-year highs, an Associated Press report said.

Vodafone had a net loss of 5.43 billion pounds ($10.77 billion) in the year to March 31, down from 21.9 billion pounds a year earlier, as it cut costs in western Europe and saw strong growth in emerging markets such as Turkey, Africa and Eastern Europe, the report added.

Revenues increased 6% to 31.1 billion pounds ($61.7 billion) from 29.4 billion pounds a year earlier, the report said.

The Associated Press report also quoted the company as saying that tough competition in mature European markets like Britain and Germany would continue to drive down profit margins in those markets.

'In Europe we are driving voice and data growth but these drivers are being offset by price pressures and regulatory conditions,' CEO Arun Sarin was quoted by the report as saying.

The European Union has decided to cap mobile phone roaming charges, which Vodafone estimates will cost it about 200 million pounds ($400 million) to 250 million pounds ($500 million) next year, the report further said.

However, Sarin said he expects to see strong expansion in high-growth, emerging markets, such as Turkey and India, where the company has recently made acquisitions, the report said.

The company forecast an adjusted operating profit in the coming year in the range of 9.3 billion pounds ($18.4 billion) to 9.8 billion pounds ($19.4 billion), the report further said.