CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-First-quarter boost for Telefonica despite Spanish market
(Corrects name of company that acquired British O2 unit, in 3rd paragraph)
* First-quarter revenues up 12.6 pct, core profit up 7.7 pct
* Germany, Brazil, Latam grow but Spain still contracting
By Julien Toyer and Andrés González
MADRID, May 14 (Reuters) - Telefonica posted higher first-quarter sales and core profits on Thursday thanks to growth abroad, a sign that an expected turnaround at the Spanish company is underway even though its home market shrank again.
The telecoms company is hoping to start a new growth cycle in 2015 following a six-year slump that was prompted by a deep economic crisis in Europe and the subsequent restructuring of its business to pay down high debts.
Having recently bought rivals in Germany and Brazil and agreed the sale of its British business to Hutchison Whampoa , Telefonica is now focused on fixing its Spanish market, which accounts for about a quarter of revenues and has shrunk 40 percent since the start of 2009.
Telefonica last month announced price rises on most of its phone, Internet and television packages in Spain and hopes this will help boost revenue at home this year.
For now, however, the Spanish division reported a 3.8 percent drop in revenues to 2.88 billion euros ($3.3 billion) while operating income before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) fell 8.6 percent from a year ago and 5.2 percent from the previous three months. Margins were also under pressure. Continuación...