July 30, 2020 / 6:37 AM / 6 days ago

Coronavirus, currencies, crimp second-quarter earnings at Spain's Telefonica

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the Telefonica headquarters in Madrid, Spain, June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Juan Medina

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s Telefonica (TEF.MC) reported sagging quarterly earnings on Thursday, as measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak sapped demand for services including roaming and handset sales, but it reiterated guidance for organic revenue growth in 2022.

Telefonica launched a new plan to boost revenue in a crowded European sector long struggling to achieve strong growth last November, just a few months before the pandemic started sweeping its main markets: Spain, Britain, Germany and Brazil.

Reiterating guidance for an increase in the ratio of core earnings excluding capital expenditure over revenue in 2022, it maintained a 0.40 euros per share dividend and said it expected a “notable recovery in commercial activity” from June 2020.

Revenue fell 14.8% year on year on a reported basis, to 10.34 billion euros (9.38 billion pounds), compared with an analyst forecast provided by the company of 10.39 billion euros.

Core earnings before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) fell 25.3% to 3.315 million euros on a reported basis, below the consensus forecast, including the impact of an impairment charge in Argentina worth 109 million euros.

The unfavourable impact of foreign exchange movements increased in the second quarter, particular from its Brazilian business, dragging down OIBDA by 6.7 percentage points.

Telefonica’s share price has been tracking gradually lower over the past five years, and investors have punished it with a 37% drop so far this year, compared with a 15% fall in the benchmark STOXX Europe 600 index .SXKP.

Reporting by Isla Binnie, editing by Inti Landauro and Ingrid Melander

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