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Vodafone posts £6.6bn annual loss for 2018

UKRAINE - 2019/03/12: Vodafone group plc company logo seen displayed on a smart phone. (Photo by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Telecoms giant Vodafone (VOD) saw a massive £6.6billion annual loss for the 2018 financial year, and has cut its dividend to shareholders for the first time.

The loss for the year to 31 March follows profits of £2.4bn, after the company sold its Indian operations at a loss and wrote down the value of some assets.

The full-year dividend, one of the most generous in Britain, has been slashed from 13p to around 8p a share.

Vodafone’s group revenues for the year dropped 6.2% to £37.9bn, below previous estimates.

Underlying earnings fell 4.5% to £12.2bn, but the company said this marked growth of 3.1% on an “organic basis”.

Vodafone group chief executive Nick Read said the board had made the decision to cut the dividend, in order to reduce debt “and deliver to the low end of our target range in the next few years," as the group entered a key point in its transformation.

Net debt as of 31 March 2019 was £23.5bn, compared to £25.7bn a year earlier.

Vodafone shares opened up around 4.6% in London.

vodafone share price

The annual figures follow Vodafone's announcement on Monday that it had sold its New Zealand mobile business for 3.4 billion New Zealand dollars (£1.7 bn).