- Telecom giant Vodafone posted a 34% fall in first-half profit, though its underlying earnings improved and it nudged up its annual guidance.

Pre-tax profit for the six months through September decreased to €1.28 billion, down from €1.93 billion year-on-year.

In the previous year, Vodafone had made a €1.0 billion one-off gain on the merger of Vodafone Hutchison Australia into TPG Telecom.

Adjusted earnings rose 6.5% to €7.57 billion, as revenue rose 5% to €22.49 billion, including 2.8% growth in services revenue.

Looking ahead, Vodafone narrowed its adjusted earnings guidance for the full year to the top end of the range between €15.2 billion and €15.4 billion, up from previous guidance of €15.0 billion to €15.4 billion.

Adjusted free cash flow guidance was upgraded to at least €5.3 billion, up from at least €5.2 billion.

Vodafone held its interim dividend steady at 4.5c per share.

'The results show we have demonstrated good sustainable growth and solid commercial momentum,' chief executive Nick Read said.

'Our strengthened performance in Africa and Europe puts us on track to be at the top end of our guidance for this year, as well as firmly within our medium-term financial ambitions.'

'We know there is more to do and our focus remains on driving growth.'

'We are structured for value creation, with operational priorities and portfolio actions which are designed to improve returns at pace.'

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