Vodafone results down

One-off tax charges, losses from new subsidiaries, and merger costs together with the change in the mobile-to-mobile interconnection charges in the first half of the year put a damper on full-year results, mobile phone operator Vodafone Panafon said yesterday. It reported a 3.4-percent fall in net profits in the financial year to March 31 to 169.3 million euros, following a one-off provision in the first half of the year related to tax charges. The non-recurring charge cost the company 5.9 million euros. Pretax profits were down by 2.1 percent to 273.4 million euros, the result of losses suffered by new start-ups, Internet portal Vizzavi Hellas and the Albanian operation, Vodafone Albania. The latter, set up last year, posted a loss of 4.2 million euros against sales of 25.8 million euros. Giorgos Koronias, managing director, said the Albanian subsidiary had «surprised us with its EBITDA of 150,000 euros.» He said the company will set up further ventures in the Balkans «only if there’s growth and profits.» Vodafone Panafon is also eying the Cypriot market, which is due to award second-generation mobile phone licenses this year. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), on the other hand, showed a strong, 10.2-percent jump to 427.5 million euros. EBITDA margin, in contrast, declined to 43.2 percent from 45.9 percent, the company said, blaming the fall on the integration costs of retail subsidiary Unifon and the change in mobile-to-mobile interconnection charges. Average revenues per user amounted to 28.4 euros, down from 34.1 euros year-on-year but up on a quarterly basis. Koronias said imminent cuts in fixed-to-mobile interconnect costs are not expected to affect this year’s results. Economy Minister Kemal Dervis approved two new appointments to Turkey’s telecoms supervisory board on Wednesday in a move that should help facilitate the privatization.