November 9, 2010 / 7:32 AM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 1-Vodafone ups profit outlook, gets SoftBank payment

* Raises profit outlook to up to 12.2 bln stg

* Gets 3.1 bln stg payment from Japan’s Softbank

* Takes 800 mln stg impairment charge on Greece

* To target mobile data, disposals, in strategy update

(Adds details, quote)

LONDON, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile operator by revenue, raised its full-year outlook and said on Tuesday it would receive a 3.1 billion-pounds ($5 billion) payment from Japan’s SoftBank in a boost to the firm after some investor complaints.

Vodafone (VOD.L) also said it would push the sales of data plans and the disposal of non-core assets as it refreshed its strategy after some investors complained that the firm’s ownership of a host of non-strategic minority assets damaged the overall value.

The payments from the mobile phone carrier SoftBank (9984.T), had not been mentioned by many analysts in the build up to the highly awaited announcement and are likely to be taken well.

SoftBank purchased Vodafone Japan in 2006. Vodafone said on Tuesday it would sell to SoftBank its interests which were originally received as part of the sale.

A first tranche of 1.6 billion pounds will be received in December 2010 and used to pay down debt.

Shares in Vodafone have risen more than 16 percent since the company announced its intention to update its strategy, with much of those gains coming since it sold its 3.2 percent stake in China Mobile (0941.HK) for $6.6 billion in September.

Vodafone said it would look to generate free cash flow or liquidity from other non-controlled assets, building on the sale of the China Mobile stake and SoftBank.

The pending strategy update had overshadowed the build up to results, which were solid, with first half total revenues up 1.8 percent organically to 22.6 billion pounds and slightly above a Reuters I/B/E/S poll forecasting 22.3 billion pounds.

Core earnings were down 2.8 percent on an organic basis to 7.4 billion pounds, compared with a forecast of 7.3 billion pounds. Organic service revenue, which is made up of revenue related to ongoing services, was up 1.7 percent and ahead of a Reuters poll predicting 1.4 percent.

Vodafone raised its forecast for full-year adjusted operating profit to 12.2 billion pounds. It had said in May it would target a range of 11.2 to 12 billion pounds. ($1=.6201 Pound)

Reporting by Kate Holton

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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