Vodafone sees profit slump in 'challenging environment'
Profits at the Irish arm of mobile phone giant Vodafone declined 14pc to €100.2m last year.
Accounts just filed with the Companies Office show Vodafone Ireland recorded a €17m drop in pre-profit after revenues slipped 1.4pc to just over €1bn in the 12 months to the end of March 2014.
The accounts show that the Irish arm - headed by Cork native, Anne O'Leary - paid a dividend of €80m to its parent last year following a dividend pay-out of €150m in fiscal 2013.
Vodafone has the most mobile phone customers with 2.1 million recorded at the end the company's financial year. There was an 184,000 increase in the number of smart-phone users with 1.2 million customers now using a smart-phone.
The firm's overall customer base in Ireland totals 2.4m.
According to the directors' report, the increase in smart phone users contributed to strong year-on-year growth in data usage of 45%.
The directors state that the average revenue per user (APRU) increased to €29.90 in the quarter ended March 31 2014, up by 1.8pc on the same period in 2013 "as customers benefited from price reductions Vodafone brought to the market".
According to the directors' report, "Vodafone has performed well over the last 12 months in a continuing challenging and competitive environment."
The directors state that "while the operating environment remains challenging, Vodafone continues to react to the changing conditions by delivering innovative products and services as well as exceptional value to our customers. By doing so, they continue to maintain a strong competitive business and have secured strong traction in the fixed line market."
Last year's profits take account of hefty non-cash depreciation and amortisation costs of €151.5m.
The company's operating costs fell from €269.5m to €266.9m but th cost of sales increased from €476.8m to €486.5m.
The firm's profits were hit by net interest payments of €2.5m.
The company's operating profits dropped marginally from €118.5m to €114.2m.
The firm's costs last year include €35.57m on operating leases.
Numbers employed by the firm fell further last year with the loss of 83 jobs going from 1,066 to 983 with staff costs reducing by 15% from €93.82m to €79.68m.
This included wages and salaries reducing from €80.8m to €66.4m.
A breakdown of the employees shows 348 employed in sales and distribution; 140 in marketing; 137 in customer operations; 97 in networks; 96 in IT and billing; 88 in finance, 48 in other staff functions and 29 in human resources.
The aggregate remuneration, including pension contributions, to the firm's directors: chief executive, Anne O'Leary, Edward Traynor and Nadya Bhettay increased last year to €1.33m. The firm last year incurred an actuarial loss of €5.1m on its pension scheme following a €29m actuarial loss in fiscal 2013.
Shareholder funds at the end of last March stood at €564m which included €70m in accumulated profits.
The company's cash pile increased during the year from €5.1m to €11.2m.