StockMarketWire.com - Vodafone Group swung to a large first-half loss after it wrote down the value of its assets and narrowed its full-year earnings guidance to the midpoint of its previous range.

Net losses for the six months through September amounted to €7.83bn, swinging from a €1.24bn profit on-year.

Vodafone said losses stemmed from a loss on the disposal of Vodafone India following the completion of a merger with Idea Cellur, higher financing costs and the de-recognition of a deferred tax asset in Spain.

The telecom giant said it now expected its underlying Ebitda for the full year to grow by 3%, compared to its previous guidance of 1-5%.

Free cash-flow before spectrum spending was not expected to be higher at €5.4bn, up from previous guidance of at least €5.2bn.

Vodafone held its interim dividend steady at 4.84 euro cents per share said it its full-year dividend was also expected to remain flat on-year.

Revenue fell 5.5% to €21.80bn and was largely dragged lower by currency losses.

Organic service revenue rose 0.8%, with growth in the second quarter of 0.5%, with a solid financial performance in most markets offset by increased competition in Italy and Spain.

'Our performance in the majority of our markets has been good during the first half of the year, and we have taken decisive commercial and operational actions to respond to challenging competitive conditions in Italy and Spain,' chief executive Nick Read said.

'We are on track to reduce net operating expenses for the third year running, and we are confirming the mid-point of our EBITDA guidance range, with an increased outlook for free cash flow generation.'

'Looking ahead, my new strategic priorities focus on driving greater consistency of commercial execution, accelerating digital transformation, radically simplifying our operating model and generating better returns from our infrastructure assets.'

'Our goal is to deepen customer engagement through a broader offering of products and services, and to deliver the best digital customer experience, supported by consistent investment in our leading Gigabit networks.'

'We expect that this will drive revenue growth, reduce churn and lower our European net operating expenses by at least €1.2 billion by FY2021.'

'Our focus on organic growth along with the strategic and financial benefits of the proposed acquisition of Liberty Global's assets give confidence in the group's ability to grow free cash flow, which underpins our dividend.'

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