Vodafone Earnings Top Expectations, mmO2 Posts First Profit
By Carlo Longino, Tue Nov 18 23:30:00 GMT 2003

Vodafone, the world's biggest carrier, saw earnings for the first half of its fiscal year rise by 46 percent, while European carrier mmO2 turned its first profit since being spun out of BT two years ago.

But what really surprised market observers was that Vodafone increased its share dividends by 20%, and announced a first-ever stock buyback totaling GBP 2.5 billion -- quite a change from spending so much in stock.

The company continues to milk its cash-cow operations in 26 countries, generating plenty of healthy cash flow. Just over 15 percent of Vodafone's revenues came from data, still mostly SMS messages.

mmO2 turned a meager GBP 26 million pre-tax profit as revenues rose 21 percent to GBP 2.68 billion in the first half of the year, with almost 20 percent of that coming from data.