MADRID, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica has just announced net profits of 3.331 billion euros (3.77 billion U.S. dollars) for 2018, increasing 6.4 percent.
The fifth largest telecommunications company in the world had overall income of 48.693 billion euros and was able to reduce its debts by 2.445 billion euros to 41.785 billion euros, the company said in a news release published on its official website late on Thursday night.
Company President Jose Maria-Alvarez-Pallete welcomed the results, saying 2018 was "the year that passed the halfway mark in the transformation of Telefonica. Today I can assure you that Telefonica is closer to the company we want to be than to the company we were."
"Our solid set of fourth-quarter results reflected the improvement in business' sustainability. Value customers and their average lifetime continued increasing, while both revenue and operating cash flow growth accelerated," he said.
Hours before the announcement of the company's performance in 2018, Telefonica said that it has sold its subsidiaries in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama to the Millicom International Group for 1.45 billion euros.
This follows the sale of subsidiaries in Guatemala and El Salvador for 570 million euros to America Movil in January of this year.
Telefonica confirmed that it ended 2018 with 352.6 million clients, with the Spanish market accounting for 26 percent of its income, followed by Brazil (21 percent), Germany (15 percent) and the UK and the southern region of Latin America (14 percent each).
Alvarez-Palette assured that the company would be holding onto its British subsidiary, O2, despite the possible negative effects of the Brexit.
"We do not need to sell O2, the United Kingdom is a strategic market for us," he indicated. (one euro currently equals to 1.13 U.S. dollars)