StockMarketWire.com - Vodafone Group cut its dividend after swinging deep into the red, owing to a loss on the sale of its Indian unit and asset impairments.

Losses for the year through March amounted to €7.64bn, compared to a profit of €2.79bn on-year.

The dividend was 're-based' to 9.00 eurocents, down from 15.07 eurocents in the 2018 financial year.

Revenue fell 6.2% to €43.67bn, while adjusted Ebitda fell 4.1% to €14.14bn, though it rose 3.1% on an organic basis.

Group services revenue fell 4.5% but rose 0.3% on an organic basis.

'We are executing our strategy at pace and have achieved our guidance for the year, with good growth in most markets but also increased competition in Spain and Italy and headwinds in South Africa,' chief executive Nick Read said.

'These challenges weighed on our service revenue growth during the year, and together with high spectrum auction costs have reduced our financial headroom.'

'The group is at a key point of transformation - deepening customer engagement, accelerating digital transformation, radically simplifying our operations, generating better returns from our infrastructure assets and continuing to optimise our portfolio.'

'To support these goals and to rebuild headroom, the board has made the decision to rebase the dividend, helping us to reduce debt and delever to the low end of our target range in the next few years.'

'We are making strong progress on the priorities I described in November, supporting our outlook for Ebitda growth in FY20, with improving momentum in the second half.'

'Together with the strategic and financial benefits of the Liberty Global transaction, which we expect to close in July, this underpins our ambition to grow free cash flow and improve shareholder returns going forwards.'

Vodafone also announced that its 5G service would go live in the UK on 3 July, becoming available in seven cities at launch.

Another 12 cities would go live by the end of 2019.

The company said it would also offer 5G roaming in the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain over the summer.

Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London would be the first UK cities to receive the service.

They would be followed by Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton.



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