Vodafone said it is pursuing several “live” deals in the European telecoms market as the FTSE 100 group warned that inflation would be a drag on its performance this year.
The mobile operator has been under pressure from shareholders to ditch weaker businesses and lead efforts to consolidate European markets where it faces fierce competition.
The group’s pledge on Tuesday came alongside results that showed both revenues and profits crept higher in the 12 months to the end of March. Revenues rose 4 per cent to €45.6bn, just exceeding analysts’ expectations, while a 5 per cent increase in core earnings to €15.2bn matched forecasts.
“We are actively pursuing a range of live opportunities in a number of markets,” chief executive Nick Read told reporters, referring to his previously stated ambitions to pursue deals in the UK, Spain, Italy and Portugal. “There are opportunities across four markets that we are pursuing, and we’re engaged with a number of players in those opportunities.”
Read’s strategy for the group has been under sharper scrutiny since January, when it emerged that Cevian Capital, Europe’s largest activist investor, had taken a stake and was pushing for an overhaul of the group’s businesses.
Vodafone’s latest results come just days after Emirates Telecommunications Group revealed that it had acquired an almost 10 per cent stake in the operator for $4.4bn. The UAE state-owned group said it was supportive of Vodafone’s strategy.
The UK-based telecoms group forecast adjusted ebitda of between €15bn and €15.5bn for the 12 months to the end of March 2023, short of analysts’ consensus of €15.6bn. Vodafone said it would generate €5.3bn of free cash flow, down from €5.4bn last year.
Pointing to the surge in energy prices, Vodafone’s chief financial officer, Margherita Della Valle, said: “We are not immune to the macro-environment”.
As a result, Vodafone is in the process of establishing a long-term power…
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