Vodafone's organic sales have returned to growth and beat expectations after a strong performance in the fourth quarter, hiking the final dividend 2% to celebrate completing its Project Spring investment programme.
Thanks to the best result in Europe for six years and acceleration in Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific, organic service revenue grew 2.5% in the three months to 31 March, well ahead of forecast 1.5%.
Vittorio Colao, Group Chief Executive, commented:
"This has been a year of strong execution for the Group, returning to organic growth in both revenue and EBITDA for the first time since 2008. We achieved the first quarter of positive revenue growth in Europe since December 2010 while growth in AMAP accelerated with strong performance in South Africa, Turkey and Egypt. EBITDA margins also grew year-on-year, supported by our cost efficiency programmes.
We have now successfully concluded our Project Spring organic investment programme. This has transformed the quality of our technology, enhancing our customers' experience and enabling us to expand our Enterprise services. We are pleased to be the leader or co-leader in mobile network quality tests and Net Promoter Scores in the majority of our markets. We have also posted a record quarter of net additions in fixed as our convergence strategy continues to accelerate.
Looking forward, we will continue to invest in our customer excellence programmes in both mobile and converged services. I am confident we will sustain our positive momentum in the coming year, allowing us to maintain attractive returns for our shareholders."