Vodafone raises free cash flow guidance after good first half

LONDON (Reuters) -Mobile group Vodafone raised its forecast for this year’s free cash flow on Tuesday after it reported 6.5% growth in adjusted core earnings in its first half, driven by a good performance in Germany, its largest market.

The British company raised the floor of its full-year earnings guidance to 15.2 billion from 15.0 billion euros, with the top remaining at 15.4 billion, and upped its free cash flow target to at least 5.3 billion euros from at least 5.2 billion.

Chief Executive Nick Read said the results demonstrated “solid commercial momentum”.

“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,” he said.

Vodafone said its total revenue grew 5% to 22.5 billion euros in the six months to end-September, driven by service revenue growth in Europe and Africa and a recovery in handset sales following COVID-19 disruption in the prior year.

Adjusted core earnings came in at 7.6 billion euros, with growth boosted by a 0.7 point margin increase.

Analysts will likely nudge up forecasts after the results. They had expected Vodafone to report earnings of 15.2 billion euros this year and cash flow of 5.23 billion euros, according to a company-compiled consensus.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Kate Holton)

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