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UPDATE 2-Vantage Towers annual revenue, profit in line with guidance

(Adds fresh CEO comment, share price action)

BERLIN, May 17 (Reuters) - Vantage Towers, the infrastructure unit of Britain’s Vodafone, on Monday reported modest growth in underlying revenue and core profit that was in line with its own guidance in its first full-year results since floating on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

Revenue grew by 2.2% to 966 million euros ($1.2 billion) on a proforma basis in the year to March 31, within its 955-970 million euro guidance range but just shy of median forecasts by analysts of 971 million euros according to Refinitiv.

Core profit, measured as EBITDA after leases, rose by 2.1% to 524 million euros, Vantage said.

“We have fully delivered on our FY21 operation and financial targets and we remain focused on commercializing our business and delivering our medium-term targets,” Chief Executive Officer Vivek Badrinath said of the results.

Badrinath highlighted an increase in Vantage’s so-called tenancy ratio - the number of antennae on each site - as a validation of its core strategy of investing in organic growth while opportunistically eyeing acquisitions.

The ratio rose to 1.4 times, ahead of year-end guidance, bringing Vantage closer to its longer-term goal of 1.5 times.

Vodafone span out Vantage last year and the towers unit completed Germany’s largest public listing since 2018 in March, achieving a valuation of 12.1 billion euros.

Vantage shares opened 1.5% weaker after the results.

They had ended last week 13% above their IPO price of 24 euros, reflecting a view among analysts that Vantage - which runs 82,000 sites in 10 European countries - stands to profit from long-term growth in mobile data use.

Vantage Towers set revenue guidance of 995 million euros to 1.01 billion euros for fiscal 2022. Profit margins are seen broadly stable and free cash flow at 390-400 million euros, up from the 2021 outturn of 384 million euros. ($1 = 0.8243 euros) (Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Caroline Copley and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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