Vodafone CEO says UK consolidation conversations are ongoing

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Vodafone hs told investors that it is actively pursuing consolidation in four European markets, including the UK, after posting a 4% increase in revenues during what it considered to be a good financial year.

Group chief executive Nick Read said the company was “engaged” in discussions in Italy, Spain, and Portugal as well as the UK, where the company has been linked with a possible takeover or joint venture with Three in recent months.

Consolidation has been top of the agenda for Vodafone which seeks to mitigate the impact of intense competition in the market at a time when it needs to invest in 5G infrastructure.

Vodafone results

Compounding this need is pressure from shareholders over a drop in the firm’s share price, including from ‘constructive activist’ firm Cevian Capital. 

Although positive full year results failed to improve the situation substantially, a £4.4 billion investment from Abu Dhabi-based telco Etisalat has given Vodafone’s short-term strategy a vote of confidence.

Revenues over the past 12 months increased to €45.6 billion, but Vodafone warned that macroeconomic factors such as inflation, as well as concerns about the German business would be factors in the coming months.

“We delivered a good financial performance in the year with growth in revenues, profits and cash flows, in line with our medium-term financial ambitions,” said Read. Whilst we are not immune to the macroeconomic challenges in Europe and Africa, we are positioned well to manage them and we expect to deliver a resilient financial performance in the year ahead.

“Our near-term operational and portfolio priorities remain unchanged from those communicated 6 months ago. We are focused on improving the commercial performance in Germany, actively pursuing opportunities with Vantage Towers and strengthening our market positions in Europe. These actions, together with the simplification of our portfolio and the ongoing delivery of our organic growth strategy, will create further value for our shareholders.”

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.