Vodafone says its earnings growth will accelerate this year after a programme to improve its networks boosted demand in Europe. As Hayley Platt reports, it also helped the group return to underlying growth in 2016 revenue and core earnings for the first time since 2008.
It's been a long time coming but Vodafone says its underlying business is growing again for the first since 2008, helped by a revival in Europe. The world's second-largest mobile operator reported full year revenue of 41 billion pounds An increase of 2.3 percent. It's a sign that it's multi-million pound 'Project Spring' investment program to improve its networks is working. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CMC MARKETS, MARKET ANALYST, JASPER LAWLER, SAYING: "I think the drivers going forward will be that they don't have that cost headwind from the investment into their infrastructure and as its gradually realised amongst customers that the quality of the service has picked up because of the new infrastructure then actually customers will come back." Better business in emerging markets has also helped. Increased demand in South Africa and Egypt helped boost earnings before interest and tax to £11.6 billion - just shy of forecasts but up 2.7 percent. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CMC MARKETS, MARKET ANALYST, JASPER LAWLER, SAYING: "The growth is still concentrated inside regions outside of the core of Europe. Turkey and the likes but the core of Europe, the sales slow down has diminished and so what you look for then is for a bottoming and actually for those sales to eventually rise." Vodafone's been moving from traditional mobile services to what it calls total communication, including the Cloud and the Internet of Things. And there's still work to do - some analysts are disappointed Vodafone's efforts aren't yet translating into revenue growth.