Telefónica profits take heavy hit from Venezuela currency chaos

Telefonica logo office

Spanish operator giant Telefónica has reported its earnings for 2014 and insisted things are headed in the right direction in spite of an annual drop in net profit of 35%. The blame for this fall was almost entirely placed at the feet of its Venezuelan operations, which recently had to endure a 69% devaluation of the local currency.

Telefónica was keen to focus on the prolonged strategic transformation the company has been undergoing, and seems to think that process is nearing a successful conclusion. It uses vaguely-defined terms such as “Digital Telco” to characterise this transformation, which seems to infer an organisational acknowledgement that it’s all about data these days.

“The execution of our transformation strategy in recent years, coupled with the evident change in trends which is underway, lead us to upgrade the level of our ambition for the next two years,” said César Alierta, Chairman and CEO of Telefónica. “The evolution of our operations, the strength of our balance sheet and the current environment all present clear signs of improvement and are reflected in the acceleration of the Company’s profitable and sustainable growth.”

Revenues were up 2.6% annually to €50.4 billion and while profits were down, Telefónica still banked €3 billion. One-off costs, which are mainly attributable Venezuelan asset write-downs, amount to almost €1.5 billion, so profits would only be 19% down if it wasn’t for them.

Here’s a summary of Telefónica’s country-by-country 2014 revenue performance:

Spain: down 7.2%

UK: up 0.6%

Germany: up 12.4%

Brasil: up 0.5%

Argentina: up 23.8%

Chile: up 3.0%

Peru: up 7.3%

Colombia: up 7.8%

Mexico: up 8.8%

Venezuela and Central America: up 30.5% (presumably without allowing for exceptional items)

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