British mobile phone giant Vodafone on Tuesday reported a 90-percent plunge in annual net profit after taking a vast impairment charge relating to poor business in debt-laden eurozone nations Italy and Spain.
Updating the market, Vodafone was meanwhile silent surrounding recent speculation that it may offload its sizeable stake in Verizon Wireless, the US mobile operator.
Profit after tax nosedived to £673 million ($1.03 billion, 796 million euros) in the group's financial year to the end of March from £7.0 billion in 2011-2012, Vodafone said in a results statement.
"We have faced headwinds from a combination of continued tough economic conditions, particularly in Southern Europe, and an adverse European regulatory environment," Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao said in the statement.
Group revenues retreated 4.2 percent to £44.44 billion.
Vodafone's businesses in Italy and Spain have been hit hard by the impact of the ongoing eurozone sovereign debt crisis.
The company said that it took a second-half hit of £1.8 billion, taking its total impairment charge to £7.7 billion for Italy and Spain.
Despite the plunge in profits, Vodafone's full-year shareholder dividend stood at 10.19 pence a share, up seven percent from the previous year.
The company took a dividend of its own totalling $3.2 billion from Verizon Wireless, in which Vodafone has a 45-percent stake.
In a conference call, Colao told reporters that Vodafone had "nothing new to announce" about its stake in Verizon, despite ongoing media speculation, noting simply that it was "fantastic asset".
Verizon Wireless last month denied speculation it was preparing a joint bid with AT&T to buy out Vodafone, in a reported deal that would see Verizon snap up the British group's 45-percent stake.
"As Verizon has said many times, it would be a willing purchaser of the 45 percent stake that Vodafone holds in Verizon Wireless," the US company said at the time.
"It does not, however, currently have any intention to merge with or make an offer for Vodafone, whether alone or in conjunction with others," it added in a statement at the start of April.
Turning to the outlook, Vodafone on Tuesday forecast that adjusted operating profit would stand at between £12.0 billion-£12.8 billion in the current 2013-2014 financial year.
In late deals, Vodafone's share price was up 0.68 percent to 198.95 pence on London's FTSE 100 index of leading companies, which was rising 0.36 percent at 6,780.27 points.
"The situation in southern Europe remains one of disappointment," noted analyst Richard Hunter at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers.
"The question of the Verizon stake remains at the top of the agenda for investors, although Vodafone's decision hitherto to stay put continues to reap measurable rewards," he added.