Telefónica’s full-year revenues fell 8.5 percent in 2013 to €57.06 billion, while net profit jumped 16.9 percent to €4.59 billion.
The Spain-based operator saw a 9.4 percent quarterly growth in the post-paid mobile sector and an eight percent rise in pay-TV access boosted the group’s customer base to 323.1 million accesses by the end of December, a 2.3 percent year-on-year rise.
Telefónica's Latin American business, which accounts for 51 percent of total sales, grew 9.6 percent but weaker currencies in Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela nudged 7.5 percentage points off revenues and operating income growth, Telefónica said.
This, combined with a 9.3 percent increase in mobile data sales, helped offset a 8.6 percent drop in revenues in Europe, with the price war in the Spanish home market eroding margins and pressuring the bottom line.
Meanwhile, Telefónica Digital saw sales increase by 19.4 percent during the past 12 months.
The operator forecast capital expenditure of between 15.5 and 16 percent of revenues this year, versus 14.5 percent in 2013. It also said that revenues are expected to show "positive growth" in 2014, after a 0.7 percent organic increase last year.
The EBITDA margin will remain under pressure, after dropping 0.2 points last year and 1.4 percent points in 2012. Telefónica said the margin could start to stabilise this year or fall by as much as 1 point if the company decides to spend on commercial opportunities.
The operator is in the middle of dealing with objections detailed by European Commission over its recent €8.6 billion offer for E-Plus. The officials in Brussels have noted that phone plan prices in Germany could rise by as much as a third for some users after Telefónica’s deal, which would reduce the number of German operators from four to three and create unhealthy competition.
The operator, who approved a corporate restructuring yesterday which is aimed at reducing costs, borrowed heavily to finance its expansion into Latin America and northern Europe, further added that it had lowered its net debt pile by almost €16 billion over the past 18 months.
The Chairman of Telefónica, César Alierta, said the operator will accelerate its transformation in 2014: "Among our targets, we will continue accelerating revenue growth and, at the same time, we will increase investments to anticipate to the growing demand from the increasingly intensive data service usage, as well as the recovery of demand expected in some of our main markets".