The operator’s latest results show service revenue down in Germany, Italy, and Spain, with the UK the company’s only major growth market
This week, beleaguered operator group Vodafone has announced its latest financial results, the first under the stewardship of interim CEO Margherita Della Valle.
As expected, they company continues to struggle in some of its largest markets, with revenues falling in Germany, Italy, and Spain by 1.8%, 8.7%, and 3.3%, respectively.
These three markets remain highly competitive, with Vodafone’s fibre business in Germany losing subscribers to rivals, and mobile price wars in Spain and Italy driving down revenues.
The UK was the only large market in which Vodafone’s service revenues had increased, rising 5.3%, largely as a result of inflation-linked price rises.
Vodafone is currently seeking to merge its UK operations with those of CK Hutchison’s Three UK, with Della Valle confirming that talks are ongoing between the two companies.
In total, these Q3 results showed total revenues of €11.64 billion, 0.4% lower than those reported for the same time last year.
Nonetheless, Della Valle said the company would not alter its forecasts for the year, still targeting full year EBITDA of €15–15.2 billion.
“Although we’re continuing to target our financial guidance for the year, the recent decline in revenue in Europe shows we can do better. We need to do more for our customers by delivering quality connectivity in an easy way,” said Vodafone’s interim CEO Margherita Della Valle.
Vodafone has been struggling to find growth for numerous years now, with key shareholders – notably activist investor Cevian capital –increasingly calling for an organisational shakeup.
Previous CEO Nick Read, who stepped down from the role after four years at the end of 2022, had long argued for market consolidation as the key to returning the organisation to growth, but very few deals at scale were ultimately struck during his tenure. Meanwhile, the company’s share value declined by around 40% during this period.
Della Valle took over as interim CEO at the start of this year, with the search for a permanent replacement still ongoing.
Now, Vodafone is pursuing a number of new strategies in order to reduce costs, having announced last year that it would seek to save €1 billion by 2026.
According to Della Valle, initiatives aimed at generating around €500 million in cost savings are already underway.
“We’ve already taken action, including simplifying our structure to give local markets full autonomy and accountability to make the best commercial decisions for their customers. In addition, we now have initiatives underway to generate around half of our €1 billion cost savings target. There is more to do and our focus is to provide a better service to our customers, become a simpler business and deliver growth,” said Della Valle.
It should be noted that this cost cutting plan includes the loss of at least several hundred jobs across the business, with the first batch of job cuts announced earlier this year. The company’s London office is expected to account for the lion’s share of the losses.
Vodafone is not alone in making job cuts in the UK, with BT also notably announcing a reduction in staff earlier this month.
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