Hit by the writing down of multibillion-pound tech investments, Vodafone – the world’s largest mobile phone group – posted an interim loss of £8.45 billion, topping the £8.1bn shortfall for the whole of its last financial year.

Billions of dollars have been wiped from the value of investments made at the height of the tech boom, in firms such as Mexican mobile firm Iusacell, German operator Arcor and China Mobile.

However, core earnings from its mobile operations jumped 46% to £4.7bn, while revenues increased 33% to £13.5bn, though this was below analysts’ projections of £14.1bn–£14.5bn. Its customer base rose 15% to 95.6 million in 28 countries since March.

Chief executive Christopher Gent dismissed the huge loss as an accounting matter, adding: “The fundamental strength of the business is tremendous. We have got a good balance sheet with a low net debt ratio and an ‘A’ credit rating.”

News source: MediaGuardian.co.uk